Rediff reports on the Thirumangalam bye-elections:
For the people of this assembly seat in south Madurai, the poll process is more a ‘buy election’ than a bye-election. Nobody here talks on issues like price rise, power cuts and shabby roads. The only topic of discussion is ‘who is giving how much money and when?’
One voter admits to rediff.com that he received Rs 3000 for his vote. He expects more money to come his way, as there is still a week to go before the votes are cast.
Well, every election is really an exercise in buying voters. Either you can buy them with promises of good governance, better infrastructure, law & order and so on; or you can buy them with money and material goods. If the promises have no value, and both voters and politicians know that every promise is an empty one, then what’s a pragmatic voter to do? Take the money, of course. A self-perpetuating cycle duly begins, and there you have it, democracy at the grassroots.
(Link via email from Rajeev Mantri.)