While soliciting 2000 rupees for a vote is the countrywide norm, Namo critics have set a high price for their votes this time around. If back of the envelop calculations are considered, the prime minister will need to shell out more than 20 crore crore rupees to win the general elections this time. The Chaiwala PM himself had shown a way out when during the last elections he hinted at bringing back black money and distributing among voters. It is not always that elections happen but when they do, smart people do trade their vote for money.
Elections are fast approaching, It will not be far when the model code of conduct comes into force. The BJP had clearly stated that they always think about their voters and appease them right from the word Go. The steady noise about bringing back black money that had gone out of the country all these years too has turned louder. The BJP claims they have changed the norms, by spending all money from the consolidated fund of India on citizens. Earlier parties in power took cuts from the consolidated fund in welfare spending. Now the PM claims 100% benefits are reaching the poor. Not only this the party has taken great pains to clean up their election funding. All amounts collected from people offering money to fight elections are now either through cheque or electronic fund transfers.
Vote Buying All Along
Election pundits and commentators have since a long time found candidates from competing parties trying to influence voters by either providing them supplies or outright handouts. It is common knowledge that winning elections involves spending money. It is also common knowledge that candidates recoup their losses or spending during elections after coming to power. It is for the first time that the horse is leading the cart. The Bharatiya Janata Party seems to have spent more than 5 lakh crore in transferring benefits to poor people through aadhaar based targeting. Congress and other opposition parties have felt the heat from such transfers. There were some sounds of outrage when the PM did a U-turn on aadhaar and ran the Aadhaar Juggernaut better.
The Demonetization Spin
Demonetization to be presented this time around as a weapon that fought against black money. Opposition parties will try to present it as a fraud on the people. It is a debating point and will continue to be one in the times to come. Apart from the BJP other parties of the NDA have gone silent and neither praised it nor criticized. Two years past the controversial step, support for it seems to be dwindling. Even support for Aadhaar linked targeted delivery of services has to confront organized agitations by activists. Though the Supreme court judgement on Aadhaar went against the critics and in government favor, Critics have been further emboldened.
While charges and counter charges are flying thick and fast, either side is not conceding any ground. Election commission will have a tough time with controversies surrounding EVMs and false propaganda in the media. This leaves out certain sites dedicated to satire and fake news to reveal the true picture.