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Something for journalists to do

Postings not related to the writing of the Manifesto or policy chapters
are likely to be summarily rejected. Thanks for your understanding. IPI
On Wed, 13 Jan 1999, Arindam Roy wrote:

> Agreed. Just say when you are ready with the research findings. Whatever I
> can do for you.
> Rgds,
> Arindam Roy,

Thanks, Arindam.

I have a request for journalists on this list (I had requested such a
thing earlier but no one could get the aswer that time)

Is it possible for you and other journalists on this list (Ash, Jal,
Ajay) to get the permission of their boss/es to carry out a simple data
collection project (not big research; only about 4-5 days work) on the
following lines:

A) Visit the MPs/ MLAs in the state/ central capital, randomly, through
appointment (you all have the press passes)

	*	ask them how much it cost them to run for their

	*	how much it costs them to feed the visitors who
		come to their residences

	*	what did they declare regarding electoral expenses 
		to the election commission

	*	opportunity cost: what is the MP/MLA forfeiting
		by not doing his/ her regular profession.

B) Visit the dalals who organize campaigns for parties.

	*	ask how much it will cost Mr. X to campaign in
		a constituencey of average size

			(include -	vehicle hire/ purchase
					petrol, etc.
					payments to drivers
					cost of posters
					cost of big cut-outs
					cost of mike and other 		
					cost of wining and dining
						people before
						the elections	

	*	cost of purchasing electoral rolls

	*	cost of printing manifestos/ brochures

	*	cost of printing party flags
C)  To countercheck the info, ask poster painters and others about
		the cost of making large cutouts and big banners,
		etc. Also check out the licence fee for putting these

D) Political party offices. Get statements regarding funds received, 
	funds spent in day-to-day purposes, funds spent in elections,
	etc. Particularly ask the big parties how the aeroplane trips
	and helicopters are funded for the big leaders. Also find out
	how the funds are generated for 'party retainers' at the village
	level, i.e., those folk whose job is to carry petitions from 
	villages to the MLAs/ Ministers.

E) Election commission or its rep at the state level.

	Ask for a copy of the detailed statements of account of the 
	political parties and the statements of campaign expenses 
	made by the candidates. Also complete copy of electoral laws
	relating to the survival of a party as well as the procedure
	to spend funds in a campaign.

Once the data is available, we can improve our analysis and find out if
it is indeed possible for any honest person to contest elections in
India. In fact, Times of India should already have data on these issues.
Please check out with the experts on elections in your newspaper/
organization and see if we can make a sound study of this critical

In fact, such research could also be carried out by the institutes with
us, such as the Liberty Institute. We need excellent analysis of this
issue before we make the firm claim that honest people cannot enter
Indian governance.



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