Ill effects of easy ‘election money’

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

The results of the simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh have just been declared. While the winning candidates are joyous and busy for new government formation, the losing candidates are gloomy and despondent. Nevertheless, it is time for society and communities to analyse the after effects of the elections.

Post elections, it was revealed that humongous amounts of money were used in these elections. As per reports, most candidates spent tens to hundreds of crores during the elections for campaigning and to manage greedy voters. Many voters, including youths, voted for money power instead of voting for development, ideology, peace, etc. It was seen that the bazaars of towns were filled with buyers from villages spending their easily earned ‘election money’. Markets are full of people buying smartphones, laptops, trunks, almirahs, generators, vehicles, etc. Many people rebuilt their houses using tin sheets procured with election money. A few lucky, resourceful persons bought new cars/SUVs.

Electioneering and election money have impacted the society adversely, especially the youths. Youth volunteers were paid daily fees of 700-1,000 rupees for election campaigning and were provided with free food, liquor, etc. In addition, they were exposed to smoking, drinking, and aggressive campaigning up to late night. Many 18-25 year old youths still in colleges and higher secondary levels earned easy election money and were exposed to bad vices of the society. On the positive side, a few smart students/youths managed much awaited smartphones and laptops from election money. However, the majority of the youths had negative impacts with damaging future implications.

Post elections, there were sudden increase in rave parties and many youths got induced by easily available drugs, cigarettes, liquor, etc, all funded by easy election money. There have been many reports of youths induced to injectable and non-injectable drugs with election money. With many youths/children impacted, parents are worried about the future of their children.

Many parents and children are not realising that the easily procured election money will be finished in a few days. However, in these few days, many bad traits, like drugs, alcohol, smoking and aggressive behaviour would be picked up by the youths. Once caught in the vice-like grip of addictions like drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc, it would be difficult to recover.

The common citizens do not realise that once elections are over, most of the elected leaders would focus on their own development and progress. With many common villagers buying trunks and almirahs with easy election money to store valuables and other items, they would have sold their soul and pride while doing so. We the elders have allowed this menace of ‘money culture in elections’ to proliferate exponentially. We the elders have to bear this onerous responsibility of exposing our children and youths to the bad effects of electioneering and easy election money. We can only wish and hope that the next generation or the present-day youths will realise this great menace and take appropriate steps to correct this cancerous menace that is eating us alive. Otherwise we all are doomed. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)