September 24, 2008

Money for Votes (and the ticks for free?)

A report from India:
A study shows that, in the last decade, at least one-fifth of the country’s electorate was paid cash for their votes

The numbers rise among the rural poor, who are relatively more vulnerable to such cash inducements.

According to the study, conducted by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), a not-for-profit research firm, almost one in two voters in Karnataka, where assembly elections were held in May, had taken money for voting or not voting.

However, the share of voters is higher among the voters in the so-called below the poverty line, or BPL, category: 73% in Karnataka while the national average is 37%.


In an article in The Hindu on 31 May, chief election commissioner N. Gopalaswami disclosed that the total value of cash, liquor and other non-cash objects used for bribes that were seized across Karnataka during the run-up to the May polls was around Rs45.5 crore.
(For non-Indian readers, if any, 1 crore is 10 million Indian Rupees, which translates to about $11.5 million, using ballpark exchange rate for this year. Remember that's what was seized. What was actually used is obviously going to many times that!)

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