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Re: cutouts, etc.

Postings not related to the writing of the Manifesto or policy chapters
are likely to be summarily rejected. Thanks for your understanding. IPI
On Sat, 16 Jan 1999, Arvind Kumar wrote:

> The cutouts cost exactly Rs.100 per square foot once
> the postet arrives. This is for the cardboard part
> alone. Printing costs are separate. Other factors
> come into play. Location is important. When you have
> 90 foot cutouts, you need to erect structures using
> wooden poles and rope. 

Would Rs. 1 lakh be too much for such a single cut-out? What about
> One officer who was on election duty says that in his
> estimate, the winning candidate spent 40 lakhs. He 
> later confirmed it to be 42 lakhs. According to the
> official expenditure, it was 6 lakhs. The rest was
> spent by 'wellwishers' and so nothing could be done.

Can we get the precise rules regarding this? [Sorry folks, I am
completely out of touch. I was myself Addl. Chief Electoral officer
for half a year, but the laws are so many and complex; and I was
focusing on the laws relating to conduct of elections, not the
contesting of elections]

> I do not know why we should calculate all this. Since
> we suggest govt funding, let us try to work out the
> details of how that will be done. 

No, Arvind. Our consensus, after massive debate the last time, was as

"Our elected representatives do not have to start their career with a
lie. Electoral laws have to be modified to be encourage honesty. There
should be no restrictions on who can donate to a political campaign. The
only requirement would be that donations to political parties will be
fully documented and publicly available for inspection on the internet.
The Election Commission should have the power to dissolve parties which
do not disclose their funds completely." 

(from the Manifesto placed in Word format on the web. This is a re-write
of the earlier material in HTML format on the web)

I am very wary of the first line "Our elected reps. start their career
with a lie." While huge amount of circumstantial evidence exists about
its truth, I would urge that we provide at least a moderate
documentation on this. That is why we need to research these details.

Second, there is NO QUESTION of asking for govt. funding of election
campaigns. That was not even a possibility during the earlier debates,
being a completely dangerous suggestion.

> Apart from satisfying
> one's curiosity, the details given above do not mean
> much. Everyone knows that lot of money flows.

No. That won't do on IPI, dear Arvind! Everyone may know, but I don't.
You and I need evidence. Documentation. Referencing. This is too
critical a matter which is one of the two major roots of corruption in
India (the other being socialistic or discretionary and interventionist
policies). I have studied enormously on the second cause, and we are all
certain about that cause, plus its remedies. This first one, though,
i.e., electoral fraud and corruption, is not documented clearly and
forthrightly. We have to do that here. Bring quotes, for example, from
dalals who organize elections, to prove that elections cannot be held
within 15 lakhs for an MP constituency and that contesting elections is
a loss-making enterprise. 

These things, once proved, can confirm the certainty that I have of the
fact that honest people are being blocked from contesting elections in
India. We will then be able to forcefully offer the solutions which call
for no limits (as above) and complete transparency, as well as massive
salary hikes for MPs and MLAs.


PS: I must be mad. My hands are well beyond aching. They are constantly
aching and tingling as my nerves are severely compressed. I am going to
stop participating in the debate very soon. My time to "retire hurt" has
come. Nine months of this ferocious (extra) typing is not human. I must
be mad, indeed, (a) to believe that we as Indians can actually solve our
problems together and (b) to try to put in the kind of crazy effort I
have put in to get this thing going. 

I will be unhappy of course to be unable to participate. The same
misconceptions and confusions arise again and again. I have the strong
urge to reply; to debate.  Earlier debates are there but who reads
them?! The ultimate solution is to write a book, perhaps... But that
won't achieve anything, either.

And sadly, the task has just begun. We need to substantiate many of the
statements we have made and also write flyers for each topic. Maybe this
thing is impossible and we are destined to remain poor and weak as a
nation. Maybe we have cut our time-frame too tight. Maybe we should push
back our publication of a consensus document by 20 years... I just can't
do more of this. I liked being here, doing this. But I am actually very
hurt, physically, now. I could actually cry at the impossibility of the
task. Where does one begin? What does one do to break this cycle of
corruption, hatred, misunderstanding and economic inefficiency? 

The "manifesto" that we are proposing will never be adopted by any of
the existing groups. Theoretically, there is only one solution. To get
540 excellent people who believe in a document such as this, to decide
to unitedly come together to offer a new alterntative to India. These
people should guarantee that they would make systems whereby the
people's reps have no incentives to cheat, where economic laws are
followed, where national reconciliation is the top priority and where
exploitation of one group by another is permanently prohibited. 

But how will such a group arise? Who will fund them? Who will vote for
them? Till then we are where we are.

A conundrum without a solution, it would appear...

Not worth breaking one's hands over, at least. 

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