Corruption & the Indian politician

While a political career can offer perks, privileges, power & authority, it also offers no job security. The demands of the career are quite intense & unforgiving.

A politician needs one or more of these special skills
• An actor,, public speaker, voracious speaker with basic content
• To be able to gauge the tide and swim along with it,
• Survival skills, aggressive,experience on grass root thuggery,
• Vision to see his political interests are safe guarded,
• Ability to do a balance cutting corners with preaching morality.
• Fund Management, ability to give and take, & demand
• Diversion tactics and political fire fighting
• Sense of timing, charm, wit

Though politicians world wide share same or similar traits the difference is that politicians of some countries share a greater commitment to the progress of their nation while balancing it both with internal survival skills and personal comfort. Politicians who could see accurately the role of their nation in the competing world of international politics have managed progress and prosperity for their nations. Knowledge, maturity and vision vary internationally. National politicians in most countries have some grasp of world trends, while local politicians have a macro vision of things around them.

Mr Ronald Regan the republican and president said that politics is like a infant child, one with a healthy appetite with no responsibility for what comes out from bottom.Mr Narasimha rao the former prime minister narrated this “joke” quoting US politics when questioned about political corruption “A US farmer was approached both by the democrat and republican with a 10 & 20 dollar bill respectively asking for the farmer’s vote. The farmer accepted both bills and voted for the democrat. He explained it by saying that the democrat was less corrupt.”Smt Indira Gandhi was more direct when she said that “corruption is universal”. What are the reasons for the widespread political corruption India? Let’s do some grass root analysis on an Indian context. The first question is why does an Indian politician demand and accept money.

The first step for a politician in his career is getting elected. It has become a very expensive affair over the years.

Guess estimate for a M.L.A. election in India

Food for campaign workers
3.00 Lakhs
Printing: posters, handbills
5.00 Lakhs
Public Meetings
5.00 Lakhs
Contribution to party fund
20.00 Lakhs
10.00 Lakhs
Freebies to voters
20.00 Lakhs

The expenses for a person aspiring to be a minister go up many times and further up in the political ladder for an MP, union minister and for national political parties the quantum of money takes gigantic proportions. Cash transfers post elections to form governments and to keep the flock happy are astounding.The numbers are hard to comprehend for average person. While fund raising is considered an accepted norm in the USA and the figures are released, it’s largely under the table business in India.

What is the source of funding for a political candidate? Potential sources are “well wishers” of the party and its candidate. These well wishers could be rich traders, land lords, and industrialists. Then the question arises why would any trader or an industrialist contribute? The reason can be in the economic situation, where resource availability and management is in short supply. There is a pressure on demand. As the government controls these resources, it becomes a political investment for the industrialists and economic giants of the area to fund politicians so that they can get favours back. It must have started off as small voluntary gifts over a period of time changed from being a gift to a demand.

As political leaders started accepting gifts from the big guys, the lower level workers also started demanding gifts from small local traders. This process has over the years become an unofficial law. Where ever some work and funds were involved the politician considered it a source of funding. Then after being elected, the representative felt it was a right for him to enjoy the privileges of being a minister or an MLA / MP. Combined with the fact of uncertainty at the next election a politician is left with no option except to plunder. Mr KPS. Gill made an apt observation saying that “politicians in India are transient plunderers”.