Markets in everything, India electoral fact of the day edition

by on September 22, 2008 at 2:09 pm in Political Science | Permalink

According to the study…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%.
And the price?
“The bribe money varies from state to state. It may be Rs100-150 (a voter) in some states and it can go up to Rs1,000 in some constituencies,” said Rao, adding that the CMS study refers to only cash bribes, not the value of liquor or other material inducements being doled out during election campaigns.
The exchange rate is about 45 to 1.  Here is the full story.  It is estimated that one-fifth of the Indian electorate sells its vote in some manner.  I thank Deane Jayamanne for the pointer.

1 Sumant Rawat September 22, 2008 at 3:09 pm

I’m not surprised as political parties in India apparently auction ‘seats’ to Parliament to the highest bidder.Once in power the ministries are similarly auctioned based on the value of potential bribes.Sounds terrible but great training for future lobbyists!

2 Cyrus September 22, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Don’t know whether it’s possible using Indian ballots, but a common way of enforcing enforcing the contract is to hand the voter a marked ballot outside the polling place, and then pay them when they return with a blank ballot.

3 Erik Knechtel September 23, 2008 at 12:19 pm

I was over there (India) in the summer of 2007, and our tour guide pointed out that politicians drive around in vans handing envelopes of money to people in the Mumbai slums during election time. I asked “so bribery is legal?” and he was aghast. “No no no! It is not bribery! They simply offer some money and the person can choose to take it or not!” He saw it as a form of welfare that just happened to occur in the hours before an election.

To stanfo: I don’t think many of these people, who cannot read, really care or know about the policy differences between one politician and another. For many of them, 100 rupees is an enormous sum for completing what may be to them a meaningless or totally not-understood task (voting).

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