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Why Mayawati’s assets are not a problem for the Indian government

June 27, 2007
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Mayawati. A prime example of how a political candidate’s past means nothing when it comes to winning elections. She recently became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh when her party swept the polls. So whats with her past?

Well, 51 year old Mayawati has once been charged in a disproportionate assets case (Her assets are in the range of Rs 52 crores or 12.9 million USD) as well as the Taj Corridor case (she had apparently given her sanction to commercially develop the land around the Taj Mahal) …but all this didn’t affect her political career.

What mattered was that she was charismatic, cleverly played the caste card and at the same time managed to woo the upper castes. In any case, she did her job better than Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose record is not that clean either. He too has had charges of disproportionate assets filed against him. And both their parties have people with criminal cases filed against them..

Once Mayawati came to power, she managed to get the case against her in the Taj Corrider scam dropped. Apparently, the Governer discovered that the evidence against her wasn’t strong enough. And Mayawati might be able to get away with the charges against her in the disporportionate assets case as well as apparently a large number of her assets are in the name of her relatives!

Whats scary is Mayawati has ambitions of becoming the Prime Minister! After she won the UP elections she had said:

My aspiration to rise in life has brought me here today. I must confess I do look forward to occupying the highest chair in the country, one day…

So let me get back to my original question: Why are Mayawati’s assets not a problem for the Indian government?

Well, not just because the majority of politicians are corrupt. But also because our government needs politicians to raise money for the party. The need for political funding is in fact the root cause of corruption. Politicians routinely exhort money from various organisations and some keep a meaty slice for themselves. I am not really saying anything new…its that we need to remind ourselves of this once in a while and blame the system, not just individuals. The temptation for individuals in our corrupt political system are many…

In Japan for example it is mandatory to disclose all campaign funding and there are very strict penalties for violators, including being barred from running for public office for very long periods of time. Larger allowances were also given by the government to candidates and there is generous public funding, depending on the votes collected. In any case, the Japanese are pretty frugal when it comes to campaign expenses.

In the United States, the candidate must disclose the source of all contributions, alongwith names and occupations of all those who donate more than $200 in an election cycle. Limited public funding is available to candidates from the two major parties.

In the UK, political parties have to reveal any donation of above £5,000. These rules include a ban on foreign donations and a cap on party spending.

Oh yes, we too have our laws! All funding beyond Rs 10,000/- has to be disclosed and accounts have to be audited. There is also a ceiling on spending…but the funny thing is – no one is prosecuted for violations! Thats typical of our system. Almost all our laws are paper tigers. And even if anyone is prosecuted, what are the chances of him or she being convicted? All they need to is blackmail the government…tell them that we did this for you…we’ve given you illegal money, money thats not been disclosed!

Our political campaigns are lavish and no one keeps to the ceiling on spending. Thats because excessive spending works. Besides the usual hoopla and advertising, bribes and hand-outs are routine just before the elections, even though this is against the law. Why voters sell their votes for a bowl of chicken soup! We are a poor country and the politicians use that to the hilt. Simple uneducated folk find it harder to see behind the glitter.

Its glitter and show that wins elections. The more money you collect, the more publicity you get, the more you spread around, the more you can use to bribe and cajole… and the greater the chances of your party winning! And whether the individual keeps a part of the money for himself or herself or gives everything to his party…(apparently politicians like our ex-PM A. B. Vajpayee are untainted in this regard) depends entirely on the integrity of the politician.

The others know that they will never be punished…look at Laloo. He’s had several charges against him…but he is a Union Minister!

Its time we had strict punishments for those who violate election norms…and the PM has promised more transparency in political funding…but sir, we are still waiting.

Related Reading: Buying votes from the poor

14 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2007 11:36 am

    //In the United States, the candidate must disclose the source of all contributions, alongwith names and occupations of all those who donate more than $200 in an election cycle. Limited public funding is available to candidates from the two major parties.//
    very good point… in india there is no audit/disclosure😦

  2. June 27, 2007 7:17 pm

    I disagree that the main cause is the need for political funding. The main cause is the regulating-licensing-banning mindset of all Governments.
    If there were no controls, who would give a fig to Mayawati, leave alone 51 crores? Obviously, she gets money for permitting businesses of some, and blocking that of others. Till such time as Government controls individual activity, corruption will not go, regardless of how stringent punishment the law may threaten politicians with. Look at China, Japan, Italy.

  3. June 27, 2007 7:18 pm

    // He too has had charges of disproportionate assets filed against him. And both their parties have people with criminal cases filed against them.//
    This’ he’ could be any politician. The only thing is Mayawati has owned her assets publicly. Everybody knows the source of these assets. It is better that the rulers are rotated every 5 years so that there is a little bit of scare in there hearts that the other party may expose them like at the moment Mulayam is passing through that troublesome phase.
    btw you are tagged.

  4. June 28, 2007 1:46 am

    Jiski laathi uski bhains, Nita madam aur chaara bhi unhi ka😉

  5. June 29, 2007 3:55 pm

    Nita,

    We need to help some of these young political formations. I am in touch with some of them and I think they will be very pleased to have the support of someone like you. Feel free to email me or leave a comment on my blog.

    Thanks.

  6. July 5, 2007 12:11 pm

    Hi nita…. i found u r blog interesting..,never thought of finding indians out here as am too new here…
    well Mayawati’s assets shud not be a problem to anyone as far as she is ready to explain every single pie of it..
    But what abt the donors…the ambanis and the big tycoons are regularly funding political parties…and it not that the politicial parties don’t want to disclose their names, they themselves wanna hide it.
    Why? bcos then if power changes hands…then it will bcom difficult for them to make most out of gov schemes and projects.
    So don’t blame only the political parties…when u have a political party ..even u will need the so called fund.

  7. July 9, 2007 5:48 pm

    Actually the reason I did not reply to this comment Nitin was because I didn’t have much to add. Ofcourse you are right, our whole system is corrupt…

  8. July 9, 2007 6:12 pm

    I dont knw if u ever thought of it in this angle…there is a column in the TOI 2day…pls check out

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Pride_and_prejudice/articleshow/2186956.cmsMy earlier comments were not at all influenced by 2days article on the same issue…
    Like to knw wat to think on this?

  9. July 9, 2007 6:54 pm

    Nititn, to be frank with you, I find it difficult to relate what the writer says. You can blame me the way I was brought up, where we the word caste was not uttered. And at school and college I had friends from all relgiions and all castes.
    In my view, morality is morality, and it doesn’t matter what caste or religion you come from. I find corruption is a disease that needs to be rooted out, whoever is doing it. I have not much of respect for Mayawati I am afraid but I do have a lot of respect for Ambedkar, Gandhi, vajpayee, Pres Kalam, and yes even our Manmohan singh. I don’t want to know what caste they belong to, I just believe that they are honest people and they make me proud to be an Indian.
    To see issues of corruption in terms of caste is wrong. Those who are corrupt are anti-national. But then everyone in entitled to their views.
    I agree with Mayawati in her objective of wanting a casteless society, and I feel if there are more people who do not think of caste at all, this dream will come true.

  10. July 9, 2007 7:08 pm

    As u say “You can blame me the way I was brought up, where the word caste was not uttered. And at school and college I had friends from all religions and all castes”..i will certainly not blame u for this..but i can surely see this as u r limitation to relate to the author..

    I have been closely following Mayawati and her past…and when u have a whole picture of her chilhood to her CM journey ,you wont miss the hero or winner in her..

    I dont want to glorify her here….but in my view she is an acheiver..
    And may all indian think as wisely as u think to have a casteless society..I can only dream abt it..

  11. July 11, 2007 11:37 am

    And today’s news is that Mayawati wants to demolish a huge sports stadium in Lucknow to build a memorial to Kanshiram. Well, I guess for politicians like her, its personal agenda on that matters, not national interest. Luckily this decision of hers has been stayed by the court after protests from sportpeople. Lets see what happens.

  12. July 12, 2007 10:04 am

    Lets wait for the verdict of the court. As u said earlier in the case of “Dogs Killing”,we never know the indepth details, the ins and out of the matter.

    So lets wait for the court to take care of this matter. The big newspapers have given us only half news i assume. I read a lucknow daily..and the story was something else..
    anyways Lets see what happens..

  13. Tariq permalink
    May 21, 2009 11:17 am

    Is Mayawati is the only dalit daughter of India, Why she always says that why not Dalit daughter become PM of India, My Answer to her question is that she is not the only Dalit daughter of India, why don’t she promote other Dalit daughter. She is playing with the Dalits people. If she is really the Dalits well wisher then I would like to advice Mayawati its time to act not to play with Dalits.

  14. July 1, 2010 11:38 am

    INDIANS ARE KNOWN DUE TO THEIR EFFORTS AGAINST EVIL THINGS.WE ARE NOT THE PRISNORS OF CURRUPT POLITICAL PARTIES.WE ARE THE CLOULDS OF THAT RAIN WHO DESIRES TO MAKE THE LAND OF BHARAT MATA FERTILE,FREE FROM POVERTY, CURUPTION,ILLETRACY .WE SEE THE EVILS OF THE OTHER ,CANT WE SEE OURSELFS?,COULD WE STOP OURSELF TO BEING A PART OF THESE EVIL DEEDS,ARE WE SURE THAT WE ARE NOT CURRUPT IN OUR DEEDS.IT IS THE TO MAKE OUR EFFORTS FRUITFUL .WE SHOULD CONFIRM WHATEVER WE ARE DOING,IS FREE FROM CURUPTION .IF U SEE EVIL DEEDS ANY WHERE TAKE AN IMMEDIATE ACTION AGAINST THAT,U WILL FIND THE RESULTS NEXT TIME.BEE AN INDIAN,AND WORK FOR INDIA

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