‘Have You Written to Your MP’ Campaign
There was a social media post which everyone who has a smartphone or computer must have received. Many must also have forwarded it (some without even reading it). It was about the unfair advantage of many concessions and freebies the elected MP or MLAs (even those nominated or indirectly elected) received for doing almost nothing.
It was one of a score of such messages sent out so far by concerned and confounded persons who feel strongly on the travel concessions, income-tax-free payments, subsidized food, accommodation, lifelong pension after a few months of ‘work’ of occasionally signing an attendance register without any participation in the proceedings They get many such facilities.
In sharp contrast, a person who slogged for a lifetime has to pay TDS on the interest on life savings and pension, besides all taxes. (S)he is also given a free sermon on how the paltry discount in fare given as a senior citizen is paid for by the common man, while an MP in the Parliament does not even get a bill from the canteen saying what SHOULD have been charged if the subsidy was not given.
The only people not forwarded the post are MPs and MLAs.
This should be forwarded to every MP and MLA, many of them given free laptops or computers they do not (rather cannot) use. The idea behind all these subsidies, paid from taxes all are forced to shell down, is noble: Poverty should not drive these politician’s to corruption.
What is forgotten, however, is that while the poor normally are charitable and are the major donors for all good causes, it is the rich who wish to be richer. Good salaries, as we found in the case of journalists, attract the money-minded and may keep out idealists.
Most politicians are millionaires and use their clout as elected persons to earn (mostly by foul means.) Even an elected municipal corporator grows several times richer by the time his term ends. Farmers who are the source of our food starve or commit suicide but politicos show crores of tax free income from farming. An unverified post says Sharad Pawar’s own daughter and succensof as his party NCP’s dynastic chief has declared farming as her profession and income of over₹ 100 crores. In these fake news days ñothing cañ be believed.
In the USA most people write about local problems to Senators or Congressman who maintain secretarial staff to deal with them. Indian MPs get a special allowance for the purpose, but do not. In India once elected they become ‘Latsaabs’ (big lords) who can’t be approached and who visit you only when the next election comes. Much has been done through electoral reforms to make them declare their assets and criminal cases against them. The very purpose of this is defeated by benami possessions and the false cases registered against most of them by political rivals who equate rivalry with enmity. No one asks how a minister’s minor daughter, a student, owns Rs. 80 crores declared (and perhaps much more hidden). So most elected persons have criminal cases against them while the real criminals escape (by bribing the concerned officials). It is argued that one has to spend at least a crore of rupees or more to become even a municipal councilor. For an MLA or MP it is much more. The very first electoral reform therefore, should be to end the role of big money and muscle power elections. Caste is still a major factor in Indian elections, though the main reason for creating the caste system, according to Will Durant, the top philosopher-historian of the century, was preservation of the race.
It is time a ‘write to your MP/MLA‘ campaign, with a prize for the best letter and publication of all, is launched by some NGO. A friend and I once planned it but could not carry it out for want of sponsorship.
But do you know who the MP, MLA, or even the municipal councilor or corporator of your area is?