October 13, 2009

The dilemma

Bit of email came my way a day ago. It was about my elected representative in the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha, one Baba Siddique of the Congress Party. Someone had filed a RTI query asking about how he had spent his MLA funds. This message listed several cases where, it said, "public funds have been misused [by Siddique] for favouring private groups of people. Some items are also fraudulent, i.e. fictitious items are shown as expenditure."

Here are the cases listed in the email message:

A. Parichay Society’s private premises/plot developed into a garden for private use through MLA’s public funds amount to Rs.5,19,685. (Item #3 here).

B. The wall of Baba Nagar Hill road, a private property was repaired / constructed through the MLA funds amounting to Rs.2,07,870. (Item #3 here).

C. Claims made to repair/construction of gutter/footpath, at Chuim Village, using MLA funds, amounting to Rs. 4,15,890. There are no footpaths in Chuim village. (Item #15 here).

D. Bought a laptop and printer for himself from MLA funds amounting to Rs. 1,03,000. (Item at bottom of page here).

E. MLA claims to have made a balwadi at Chuim Village in 2008 spending MLA funds amounting to Rs. 2,50,000. The Balwadi at this place was actually constructed several years earlier. (Item #18 here).

F. Funds for community centre which has been converted into Buddhist temple. Rajan Sherly Gaothan, Rs 2.5 lakhs. (Item #19 here).

G. Funds for Zafar Baba Dargah. (Item #17 here).

H. Recently the MLA distributed garbage bins, all over his constituency, bought through his MLA funds. However, there is no trace of such uses in the RTI reply. (Photo here).

I. In his adverts and brochures, MLA claims to have used his funds for Education and other general uses, but those are not reflected in the data revealed under RTI. The question then, is, which funds did he use?

J. We also wish to point out the MLA has directed approximately 85% of the funds available to him in areas where the Municipal Councillors are from his political party. While, this is perhaps not legal offence, it definitely is a moral one.

K. RTI application and reply available here.


What's a voter in my constituency to do?

Vote for a man with a long record like this of misusing his MLA funds?

Or vote for his opponent, part of an alliance of parties that, among other things, a comprehensive inquiry indicts for their crimes during the riots in this city in 1992-93?

What would you do?

Me, I'm not happy with what I did. That's the dilemma of our democracy, the way it leaves a voter unhappy.


Anonymous said...

Vote for the most corruptible politician from the bahujan samaj who consciously realizes that his vote bank is from the slums, the backward classes and the minorities.

That is much better than voting for the most honest and sincere and upright upper caste candidate who thinks "development and efficiency" is his ultimate goal.

Because in all his honesty and ideological idiocy, he will foolishly end up destroying (literally) a lot of peoples homes. A representative most obsequious to popular opinion is the best candidate for us.

In any case I wouldn't mind a corrupt Mayawati as my representative than an honest Manmohan Singh.

What do you think?

Asim said...

Not voting is, in my view, a perfectly valid response - provided you register your 'non-vote'. I recall that there was some noise made of allowing voters to choose 'nobody' as an option, I don't know if that is legal or not, but it should be. Let's say more than 50% of all registered voters in a constituency choose 'nobody' as their vote. The EC should be bound to declare that the results of that constituency invalid - sending a message to political parties that they will have to field different candidates. I don't see why this option is not considered viable in a democracy...

Surya said...

was the opponent personally involved in the riots you mention? if not why not vote for him?

??! said...

'Tis a most wonderful choice we have (not), isn't it? I hate to plug, but your dilemma is exactly what I posted about just before the elections - and still hold to.

Dilip D'Souza said...

was the opponent personally involved in the riots you mention? if not why not vote for him?

Why not? Because I believe his party and its alliance partners were involved and culpable.