Money, liquor = Crowd at election rallies

In a sting operation, Zee News found out the role money and liquor plays in ensuring crowds at election rallies.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi/Lucknow: Ever wondered how politicians, not just the popular ones but also even those from smaller parties, manage to attract crowds to their election rallies? In a sting operation, Zee News found out the role money and liquor plays in ensuring crowds at such events.

The sting assumes significance in view of the tough measures being taken by the Election Commission to ensure free and fair polls in five states.

During the operation, Zee News met three leaders in Uttar Pradesh who claimed to be expert in managing crowds.

What came out was the fact that money continues to flow in poll-bound states, far from EC’s hawk eyes, through the notorious Hawala channel.

We met Deepak Valmiki in Muzaffarnagar, and Atik ur Rahman and Kunwar Asadullah Khan in Merrut. Caught on hidden camera, all three claimed that they can ensure crowds at political rallies - the asking rate being Rs 2 lakh for 1000 people!

When the reporter, posing as a leader of a small party, asked how money will change hands, in view of EC’s tough measures, the agents looked assured and said everything will be taken care of.

“Everything will be taken care of... this is the system... you don’t worry,” said one of them.

When the reporter asked if there is a way by which there was no need to bring money to UP, the agents said they will collect the money in Delhi as no model code of conduct is in force there.

While it is still easy to curb misuse of money in poll-bound states, the task to curb flow of free liquor is much more difficult as it is not illegal to consume alcohol.

Ever since the poll dates were announced, like money, consignments of liquor have also been caught in many places.

Zee News met several agents in Muzaffarnagar, Meerut and Bulandshahr who were ready to bring people to rallies with the aid of the bottle. The charge – Rs 2.5 lakh.

It is amply clear that money and liquor continues to play a key role in electoral victories despite change in attitude of the voters.

It remains to be seen whether the results in UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur would be influenced or will they reflect the true will of the people...