Hung parliaments, wafer-thin legislative majorities and opportunistic pre-election coalitions, such as the one we are seeing at the Centre this month, have been breeding grounds for extraordinary amounts of money changing hands at the highest levels in Indian politics. The only difference being instead of trying to buy voters, political parties and deep-pocketed individuals try to buy each other’s votes.
This time around, the political stakes in Parliament are quite high and, so is the resulting sweepstakes.
If the buzz this week in the Capital emerging from confabulations between new and old allies, such as the Left parties and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, is to be believed—and there is little reason not to— amounts as high as Rs25 crore per Lok Sabha MP are being discussed and dangled as one way to ensure the outcome of what many expect will be a close vote of confidence for the Manmohan Singh government. Unfortunately, this isn’t a face-off between saints and sinners. Yet another reason why Indian voters deserve a fresh shot now at deciding their next national government.