TODAY -

Grey market for election tickets

Free Thinker *



One fairly experienced gentleman from a prominent political party told me - now the season has set in for selling and buying tickets. Selling/buying counters are activated as and when the election notification is issued and party ticket committees are floated.

I am not very sure about such surreptitious ticketing counters. But seasoned politicians and their flamboyant workers are cocksure about the existence of such grey market. They say this is operated through highly personalized party workers or simply through men to man or men to woman basis.

Almost every political party has set up ticket committees except for the one man party or few men party. The members of these ticket committees are apparently very powerful and they can promise tickets to everyone who has the qualification.

For the National parties the members of such committee pretend that they are all in all. However everyone knows that the high command can play havoc to their list of recommended candidates.

The tickets of the prominent leaders and party bosses are already decided. There is hardly any contention, except for some very controversial entities. In every party there are undeclared quotas for women, youths and moneyed people. There is no hard and fast rule for fixing the number. The intending fresh candidates should know where to go and whom to approach.

Quite often National parties and regional parties insist the local leaders to mobilize election funds themselves. The ruling parties somehow can manage the requirements. But the parties which are out of power hardly have the resources to run the show-to finance the election or candidates.

That is perhaps the reason why almost all the parties are looking for well–to-do candidates. They don’t require any fund from the party; rather the affluent candidates support their respective parties in cash or in kind.

Congress has started the campaign for full sixty (about 50 applications have arrived); BJP will also open for full sixty tickets; others may follow suit; MPP may try for all in its attempt to revive and survive; NPP and NPF may go for about forty each ; Other parties like CPI/CPM, AAP, Shiv Sena , JD (U), RSP, TMC etc. are looking for robust ticket seekers.

There is a distinction between the seeker and buyer. Buying takes place when the seekers are more. When there is cut throat competition the ticket market flourishes. Where there is no demand the market is sluggish.

Ticket grey market may be in existence; that is why many are talking about it. But so far nobody has come out openly that he or she has got the ticket by making such and such payment to the party or the party leader. It could also be the imagination of some fertile minds. It is out of question to prove its existence. But people always smell a rat.

When the aspirants are more – the Ticket Committee has to endorse the name of the candidate who has the majority. Suppose there are 17 Members in a Committee of a Party – at least 9 must be in his or her favour. Don’t be so sure about the veto power of the top brass.

My simple suggestion is - be at home with the majority till the final list is out. Maintain a bonhomie relationship with the majority. A leader or two can’t assure you the ticket. You are backed by a Godfather (Twin Engine or Gandhis type) that is an exception altogether.

For local parties there is hardly any danger as all dealings take place locally. To deal with National and regional parties there is possibility of spending outside. Wealth should remain here in the State.

Whether it is with A or B or C, we don’t bother; they are going to spend the resources here mostly. Sometimes they may go for shopping in Delhi or Singapore or Thailand or Dubai- that is not a big deal. Even if their children are studying outside – that is also not a big issue – after all they are our children.

If you are trying to get the coveted ticket either from Delhi or Shillong or Dimapur it may inadvertently lead to loss of property (movable or immovable); then it may be construed as drain of wealth from the State. Far-reaching leaders may have reservations about this kind of parochial approach; what to do, we are stingy about our limited resources.

I am not in favour of bargaining for tickets; however, when demand rises haggling is bound to happen. No party accepts the idea of doing lottery among the intending deserving candidates in each Constituency. On the other hand every aspirant thinks he /she will get the ticket. So, the ticket market booms. Still I have doubts about this grey bazaar.

If at all you are purchasing a big party ticket – payment may kindly be made to the local leaders; because National leaders have bigger stakes and ample opportunities elsewhere too. The intending candidates who are not so sure of their candidature are earnestly requested to contact the local dealers and do the needful.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on January 19 2022 .



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