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With growing numbers of Crorepati MPs, can poor Indians contest Lok Sabha Election.

Since independence, political climate in our country has undergone many changes. Indian constitution gave an empowering of suffrage to its citizens to choose their political representatives democratically. But despite Election Commission's efforts to make elections free and fair, the fruits of democracy have yet to reach the common man. Big industrial houses & conglomerates have been funding the election campaigns of crony politicians to gain access to legislature and making them twist the laws in their favor. This has made politics a power game for the wealthy and the corrupt.

Funds have been poured into electoral process in various forms, in cash & kind, making it a non-level playing field for the honest, upright & independent candidates. Within the officially sanctioned budgets, these candidates find it hard to compete with the cronies and are left with little money to woo the voters. This has rendered the honest politicians with humble economic background and no commercial backing, hard to find their place in the electoral arena. The small fishes have no place in front of the biggies.

Rampant inequalities and deprivation in our society has also been a major reason for the success of corrupt politicians in our country. They attract the impoverished with false promises and freebies in their election campaigns. The sub-urban slums, villages and backward areas of the country have become breeding grounds for scouting votes. Unemployed youth from such places serve petty interests of high powered politicians. The votes are transferred for minor gains and recognition. In such cases only the money power speaks for the candidate and only crorepatis can contest the elections. The honest and upright politicians are extremely vulnerable as they cannot match the money power of the corporate funded candidates.

A ray of hope has emerged with the triumph of the Aam Aadmi Party that those with humble economic means but with a vision to change, can too win the election. The success of AAP in Delhi Assembly elections is a clear manifestation of the behavioral change among the voters.

The people who have distanced from the politics have started realizing their democratic rights in the country.

This necessitates the creation of a level the playing field for every single contender in the political arena. If that happens only then the real democratization of politics could be said to have dawned in the country.

Himanshu Dhumash