Would You Sell Out Your Vote ?

Manibabu Likmabam *

Indian Rupee
Indian Rupee :: Pic Courtesy : wikipedia/Jovianeye

In a democracy election is a must and very important. Through election people's representative are elected by the people for making laws of the land. As such they are called legislatures. These legislatures are elected for a certain terms. Different democratic countries have different laws for electing people's representatives. In India if a representative is popular enough and can render good for the people, he or she has the chances to be elected repeatedly. However, there are certain clauses in the Indian constitutional laws for electing people's representatives.

Indian constitution says any citizen of India who has attained the age of twenty-five years of age can become a candidate of election. Indian constitution does not define that a candidate should possess required minimum education qualification, and also nothing is mentioned, as far as criminal record, mental and physical soundness of the candidate is concerned. This loophole, sometimes, becomes a stumbling block in the Governance of the state and nation. Another absurdity is that any unreserved person though qualified enough to be a candidate, cannot be a candidate if he resides within reserved area. These obsolete clauses needs to be amended for better administration. Thanks to Honourable Supreme Court some amendments, at least, are brought about slowly and gradually.

Legislation is very important in a democratic country. Election should be considered as a primary responsibility of any citizen of India as it elects legislatures (Politician) who run the administration. Imagine if the legislatures are illiterates, do not have sound knowledge, how can those legislatures render good administration. Probably in the absence of good legislation or planning, everything is planned to fail. This small state does have sixty legislatures – twenty representing hill areas, forty representing valley areas. It should not be an exaggeration to say that some of them perhaps do not know the Indian constitution thoroughly.

Understanding of the Indian constitution is essential for all legislatures as constitution is the source of rendering services to the society and nation. Some of the legislatures also lack the knowledge of properly speaking and writing either in English or Hindu which is very much essential. Can we expect anything good when such ignorants become elected representatives ? Out of these sixty representatives, few are qualified to be Ministers/ MLAs and some of them turned out to be non- performers as they are elected through illegal means by throwing hefty amount of unaccounted money. Before they stand as candidates they earned huge amount of money through forcibly acquired contract works, smuggling some illegal goods.

When such unqualified persons becomes Ministers/MLAs, the state and society becomes unproductive and stagnant without any sign of economic progress. These honourable Ministers/MLAs, who were contractors, before they were elected turn all the development works of the state into contracts works.The habits of the contracts works system still bear in the mind of these honourable Ministers/MLAs even after they become responsible representatives. Consequently all the development works of the state are being done in this contracts systems. Resultantly some of the projects still remain unfinished. Even the finished works are without any quality control and disheartening.

Very vivid examples are – “Women Market” ( Ema Keithel), leakage and broken of some dams etc. There are two thinkings in the mind of those who would like to become people's representative (MLAs) through election. One thinking is - after being elected he or she should sincerely render good services for all round development of the society and state without earning huge wealth for self and family, another thinking is - after being elected he or she establish, first of all, a comfort zone for self and family, air conditioned car, air conditioned bungalows, start earning huge amount through illegal means by keeping some trusted sycophants and hypocrites, giving contracts works to brothers, brothers-in-laws etc.

Accumulations of wealth in the name of wife, wife's sisters, near and dear ones. Start purchasing bungalows, lands secretly and discretely somewhere outside the state without making known to any voters or people of his or her own area. The second thinking is being practised by almost all the elected representative of this poor state. This unholy practice is being allowed by the political party to which they belong to. If a thief catches a thief- who will give the judgement. The concerned political party through which these representatives are elected, is allowing these elected people to act as wealth accumulators rather than acting as people's true and sincere representatives.

It would perhaps be good knowledge for all of us to see how these representatives function in the state Secretariats and Legislative Assembly (when there is assembly session). Some of the representatives who become honourable Ministers seem to lack the good knowledge of English language through which all correspondences are being done. In the absence of good knowledge of this language, secretaries, commissioners (IAS - Babus) are perhaps taking undue advantages to suit their line of thinking.

When the Assembly session takes place, some of the Ministers/MLAs simply attend the session for sitting allowances only and they are not seen taking part in any discussion of development. They are also hardly seen when session is going. It is very rare that some of the representatives do speak anything about their local area. It is quite evident from the telecast of the session through television. When a representative do not speak anything about his or her own area, what is the use of being elected as the people's representative. Assembly session is very important as it discusses and adopts resolution for all round development of the whole state.

On the matter of development, this present SPF Government has been haranguing tall talks. It would be pertinent to have a look of development works of this tiny state in the last fifteen years. Widening of roads in the Imphal town and greater Imphal areas are slowly completing. It can be rated as “Good” but not “excellent”, erecting of new electric poles with prepaid system is being taken up. When to finish... nobody knows. But what about SEWRAGE projects, CCTV camera systems, traffic lighting systems, Govt. School buildings, shortage of teachers (college, schools etc), inter-village roads, state highways, drinking water, rural electrification, Public health sub-centre etc ? Even after running the government for fifteen years, the above stated works remains unfinished. How this Government boast of much development works done ?

Manipur comprises of hill and valley areas. The suffering of the hill people knows no bound. There are hill villages where the hill people do not have proper drinking water, sanitation, schools, minimum basic amenities, health care systems. But their representatives, who promised everything to the villagers just before election, enjoy luxurious life in the comfort zone of Imphal town. Is not it important to know how much money, as a state share, for development works that have been sanctioned by the union Government every year ? One crore rupees for each and every MLAs has been sanctioned for every year, for local area development of the MLA concerned. Is not it necessary to know how this one crore has been utilised by the concerned MLA. It is the time to speak out and to get to know how much wealth have been accumulated by these representatives out of these local area development fund.

Now the turning and important point comes! Another Assembly election is knocking at the door. It may be held in the month of February 2017, if not preponed. This coming Assembly election would be very crucial as far as all round development works of the state are concerned. First of all an introspection is required--- Do you and I should in favour of the same representatives who belong to a dying political party ? Or otherwise should you and I favour a change of representatives which would be from another political party ? A change would do better governance and can render good to the society. Here the crux is that if you and I sell out our valuable votes for a few rupees, the same wine would remain in the same bottle. This time both the old bottle and the old wine have to be substituted with a new bottle and a new wine.

Those unintelligent and unscrupulous people who could throw huge unaccounted money would be contesting the ensuing election. Here at this juncture a very serious and cautious steps needs to be taken up by all the electors. Money power has been unstoppable factor for winning elections but the consequent results of money power is horrible. As such the ensuing election should be a versus between money and public issues. If the electorates are hypnotised with money power, the present prevailing situation will continue without any further development. Hence, those candidates who would be using money power have to be defeated by wisdom and far sighted thinkings of the electorates. Those candidates with huge amount in their hands would negotiate with you to buy your vote for a few thousand rupees or more. If you give out your right which is very important and valuable, you and your future are all lost.

The moment your vote has been sold out, you are the first to be blamed, you are doomed, secondly your society, your children are all doomed. Because the wealthy person has purchased your rights. Once you sell out your vote, you have no right in the future to ask something in return of the vote. The wealthy person would say that the price of the vote has been given to you and you should be warned that no benefit whatsoever is coming for you and your society. This is the present trend of Politics in Manipur. If you and I continue selling the valuable votes, the schools, buildings, interconnecting roads, water supply, electricity and health care system etc. would remains unchanged. And Manipur will not be able to catch up with the pace of development.

Considering all these factors---- all the electorates of Manipur need to analyse very thoroughly that which political party is fading away from the Indian soil and which political party is upcoming in India and Manipur---- it is high time that we choose the party and candidates to whom you and I would vote in the upcoming elections 2017. A self question can be put---- are we satisfied with the present set of representatives and their way of Governance ? If not satisfied why not campaign for a change. We should try to know whether the UPA is dying or the NDA is coming up in the centre. Subsequently the SPF government in the state would survive or not.

Running a government depends on the leader. It is well known fact that the UPA had a rubber stamp leader with full of scandals and scandalous coteries. But the present leader of NDA is with full of energy, charismatic spirit having no personal heirs to replace him in the making and under whose leadership full of dynamic leaders who can render good services to the people of this Nation. India is progressing in all spheres. Economy is booming. Hardly two years in completion of this NDA government in the centre. Critics and criticism will have no edge to dislodge this NDA government. Compared to fifteen years of UPA, NDA is very young. When someone is very young you cannot point out what is good or bad in him. Corruption and bribery which was rampant in the previous government in the centre is taboo to this present government in the centre and the present leader of the NDA government.

Never happened in the past- the present NDA leadership use to dispatch his ministerial colleagues to Manipur vey frequently. This means the NDA government indeed like to make this beautiful state progress. Why not the voters of this state vote for a change. However, if the valuable votes are sold out, no change is forthcoming. Ah! One more important thing is to choose who should be the candidate. If only the rich and wealthy persons are selected as the candidates of this much sought after party, no good can be delivered. Intellectual, intelligent, with good background records would be given the chance of a candidacy. Winning would not be difficult if the voters are well convinced and given proper awareness on public issues. Finally if we think a change is required, your and my vote should not be sold out. I promise I will never sell out my vote.

* Manibabu Likmabam wrote this article for
The Writer can be reached at manlilee2014(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on September 13, 2016.

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