‘Cash for votes is a way of political life in South’

Cable sent by Frederick J. Kaplan, acting principal officer of the US consulate-general in Madras, to the state department in Washington D.C., outed by The Hindu through Wikileaks.

“Bribes from political parties to voters, in the form of cash, goods, or services, are a regular feature of elections in South India. Poor voters expect bribes from political candidates, and candidates find various ways to satisfy voter expectations. From paying to dig a community well to slipping cash into an envelope delivered inside the morning newspaper, politicians and their operatives admitted to violating election rules to influence voters. The money to pay the bribes comes from the proceeds of fund-raising, which often crosses into political corruption. Although the precise impact of bribery on voter behavior is hard to measure, it no doubt swings at least some elections, especially the close races.”

Kaplan sent the cable after meeting Union home minister P. Chidambaram’s son, Karti Chidambaram, of the Congress, M. Patturajan, confidant of Union minister for chemicals and fertilizers M.K. Alagiri and former mayor of Madurai, and member of Parliament Assaduddin Owaisi of the Majlis-e-Ittenhadul Muslimeen.

Read the full story: ‘Cash for votes a way of political life in South India

Also read: How The Hindu got hold of the Wikileaks’ India cables

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