MOHAMMAD ASHRAF | 9 DECEMBER, 2014
THE RAGS TO RICHES STORY OF THE J&K ELECTIONS
Crorespatis and Crorepatnis of Jammu and Kashmir!
SRINAGAR: According to news reports the disclosure of assets before filing nomination papers as required under the election law has given some interesting sidelights to this mega show. There is a line of crorepatis (multimillionaires) in the field! Spouses of these candidates too are millionaires and can be called crorepatnis!
A newspaper is running a daily asset watch highlighting the property both moveable and immovable owned by various candidates contesting the ongoing elections. Moveable property consisting of luxury cars, immoveable property comprising houses and land, cash in hand, and then property of spouses such as jewellery and so on. With each announcement of different phases of elections, there is disclosure of lists of crorepati candidates. Almost every list has 40 to 50 crorepatis! These rich candidates seem to be present in every political outfit.
According to the report of PS Bali in Greater Kashmir, in the fourth phase, out of 182 candidates, 77 are crorepatis! Average asset per candidate comes to Rs. 2.71 crore. Jammu and Kashmir in regard to these rich “peoples’” representatives must be the richest state in India?
Twelve candidates are alleged to be facing criminal charges. PDP is supposed to have fielded the highest number of crorepatis, 17, while the NC and Congress have fielded 16 and 10 crorepatis respectively. Among the independent candidates, there are 16 crorepatis. Among the smaller parties, at least there is one crorepati candidate. The richest candidate worth Rs. 84 crore is from PDP representing Amira Kadal constituency while as their Zadibal candidate is the second richest with 27 crores. The third richest is DPN candidate from Batamaloo worth 21 crores!
Representing people seems to have grown into a big business involving massive amounts of money in all forms. It has been a very useful exercise to have the mandatory disclosure of assets as part of the election law. However, the moot point is the source of this money. How have these assets been acquired? At the present moment in entire South Asia, politics has turned into a big business. Democracy as understood in some of the western countries such as the Great Britain, has remained on paper only. The entire process of electioneering and subsequent governance in South Asia is in the hands of corporates both domestic and multinational including those dealing in lethal armaments.
The election of the Prime Minister itself involved thousands of crores. According to some reports, the advertisements alone cost rupees ten thousand crores! The money was allegedly dished out by corporate houses from within the country and abroad.
In the present situation the really poor representatives have no chance of standing for and winning an election. Everything boils down to the “dirty” rich representing the “wretched” poor of the country. Jammu and Kashmir politicians share this distinct rags to riches story. Election for them is an investment with George Bernard Shaw hitting the nal on the head when he said, “ politics is the last refuge of scoundrels".