27 September, 2020

No Currency-filled Suitcases Back Then

No Currency-filled Suitcases Back Then
THESE are the days of hawa-hawala. Compared to ideology, policy or programmes, money is the engine of our democratic experiment. Times are different now. The concept of probity is only an empirical norm. In reality it is an opportunistically interpretive phenomenon. Nearly 44 years ago, as a young university student, I worked as an election agent for Sucheta Kripalani who was the Congress Lok Sabha candidate from New Delhi constituency in 1952. A day before polling, a Congress worker of the Gole Market area, which was assigned to me, told me he had persuaded some of the local traders to finance the transportation of voters from different parts of the constituency to the booth.

When I told Suchetaji about the offer, her reaction was of frank puzzlement: "Why should voters be paid to come and vote for me?" She asked me to refuse the offer. More important, she said the Congress worker who had suggested the garnering of these finances should not be kept on her team. She then told him to assign me to another polling booth so that I would not be subjected to any pressure and...



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