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Money playing key role in polls: Yadav

By AJIT PATOWARY

GUWAHATI, Feb 26 � Elections in India are not free and fair in the sense that here different contestants do not have level playing grounds where citizens should have the scope for a genuine choice and exercise their franchise in an informed and deliberated manner. This was the observation made by the leading psephologist and noted political scientist Yogendra Yadav. He was speaking to The Assam Tribune here today.

Prof Yadav who is known for his works on electoral politics of the country, however, maintained that elections in the country are free and fair in the sense that physical coercion against the voters and fraud in counting are absent in elections.

This is true specially in relation to Parliamentary and Assembly elections of the country.

However, he said, money is the single most important factor that prevents a level playing ground in politics. But we need to understand the impact of money carefully. It is not that those candidates or parties who spend more money always win elections. If that be the case, ruling parties would never lose the elections, he maintained.

The real problem is that the minimum amount that one needs to spend to stay in electoral contest is rising practically. Earlier, one needed to spend between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh in an Assembly constituency. Now the figure has crossed Rs 1 crore. If a candidate does not spend this much he or she is not visible to the voters and does not figure in the effective menu of choices.

�I am more worried about the minimum floor level of expenses. This has had many dangerous aspects. Political parties want to ascertain a person�s ability to spend money even before offering a ticket. Those who do not have personal money they need a local patron � who is usually a rich businessman, contractor or a property dealer � even before they take their first plunge in electoral politics,� said Prof Yadav.

Increasingly, a significant proportion of this money is spent on buying the local media.

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Money playing key role in polls: Yadav

GUWAHATI, Feb 26 � Elections in India are not free and fair in the sense that here different contestants do not have level playing grounds where citizens should have the scope for a genuine choice and exercise their franchise in an informed and deliberated manner. This was the observation made by the leading psephologist and noted political scientist Yogendra Yadav. He was speaking to The Assam Tribune here today.

Prof Yadav who is known for his works on electoral politics of the country, however, maintained that elections in the country are free and fair in the sense that physical coercion against the voters and fraud in counting are absent in elections.

This is true specially in relation to Parliamentary and Assembly elections of the country.

However, he said, money is the single most important factor that prevents a level playing ground in politics. But we need to understand the impact of money carefully. It is not that those candidates or parties who spend more money always win elections. If that be the case, ruling parties would never lose the elections, he maintained.

The real problem is that the minimum amount that one needs to spend to stay in electoral contest is rising practically. Earlier, one needed to spend between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh in an Assembly constituency. Now the figure has crossed Rs 1 crore. If a candidate does not spend this much he or she is not visible to the voters and does not figure in the effective menu of choices.

�I am more worried about the minimum floor level of expenses. This has had many dangerous aspects. Political parties want to ascertain a person�s ability to spend money even before offering a ticket. Those who do not have personal money they need a local patron � who is usually a rich businessman, contractor or a property dealer � even before they take their first plunge in electoral politics,� said Prof Yadav.

Increasingly, a significant proportion of this money is spent on buying the local media.

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