Flashback: Can you bribe an Indian MP? 29 July 08
Despite opposition from all directions, India’s struggling government managed to win a vote of confidence last week, enabling them to finalise a nuclear agreement with the United States. But was the vote won fairly? Our Observers take a look at a video that shows MPs who say they’ve been bribed.
Last Tuesday, India’s lower house arrived in Parliament to vote on whether the current government should continue to hold power. The Indian National Congress-led coalition had been forced to hold a vote of confidence after the 59-member left alliance refused to support the government’s plans on a nuclear power-deal with the United States and resigned.
The government looked doomed, with both the country’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and lower-class Dalit champion Mayawati Kumari pushing for the government to be dissolved. But on the day, MPs were wheeled in from hospital on trolley beds and convicted murderers let out of their cells to make the vote. The government won by a majority of 19, with 275 voting for and 256 against.
This video was taken at the time of the vote. A group of opposition politicians from the BJP hold up bundles of 10m rupee notes, saying that they were given to them by the government as a bribe to abstain from the vote. The issue is now being investigated by the parliamentary authorities.
Material compiled with help from one of our Indian Observers, Arnab Das.