the media says poll expenditure in andhra pradesh would exceed 4,500 crores this time. the police, across the state, seem to be stumbling over piles of cash and liquor bottles wherever they turn. over 25 crores has been recovered until now- a mere nothing really.
cms says this problem isn't so bad in kerala and a few other states. not everyone is selling their votes. journalists say not everyone accepting cash or packets of biryani or gold jewellery or saris or bottles of liquor is voting for the buyers.
if you still feel like voting- vote for the dole. because once the dole becomes policy, no future government can wriggle itself out of it. and it'd soon expand beyond the state to become national policy. once the dole reaches the villages, the poor would start thinking a few days ahead of today. they wouldn't sell themselves short today- this would ensure minimum wages are respected, without any babu's intervention. on days when there isn't any work, and because we've all become such cynics, people could splurge on the movies, liquor, satta. that wouldn't matter really, because it would mean more businesses would spring up around the cinemas and arrack shops. which would result in more work for those who are willing to work. and if the men splurge on the movies, liquor, satta even on days when there is enough work, the women could go to work and purchasing power of their families would still remain higher than earlier, because for the great majority of families in the villages, the dole would mean a two-three times jump in their incomes. which would mean more business for anyone who is interested in the rural markets- and a lot of smart businesses would be interested in a 20,000 crores market. and more businesses would spring up around the countryside- and not all of them would be new stores, cinemas and bars- there'd also be small manufacturers and others. and not all of them would be interested in selling products- some of them would also be interested in buying local products. which would mean more work for those who are willing to work.
in whatever way the men choose to spend the dole, women would still get to handle some money- from hiding a little, or going to work and earning a little. that would mean more kids would go to school. and better nutrition for them than earlier.
if the women are harassed at home, they would've enough money to talk with the police. if the women are harassed at work, they could skip work to look for better opportunities, the next day or the day after. the dole would give them that kind of breathing space. the dole would mean not just the transfer of a little money from the cities to the villages- it'd inevitably be accompanied by a little transfer of power, every time the money travels from the cities to the villages.