INDIA

Can you bribe an Indian MP?

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. Read more...

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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. 

 

The footage was aired by India's parliament broadcasters last Tuesday (July 22, 2008).

"They made a mockery of the Indian Parliament when the entire country was watching"

Tanveer Khan is a supporter of the government's leading party, the Indian National Congress (INC).

I don't think this is true. This could very well have been planned by the BJP MPs. I don't doubt that money might have been offered, but there was no need for the ruckus. They could have refused the money and stuck to what they were expected to do. This whole drama is what makes me question their motives. They could definitely have informed the necessary official about the offer, if there was one. Also, Congress [INC] had the required number to get the trust vote. So I do doubt the intention. It's a shame that they made a mockery of the Indian Parliament when the entire country was watching."

"Corruption is running high in this country"

Anurag Agarwal is a BJP supporter from New Delhi.

There are definite signs that money did change hands between the members of parliament and ruling party. They wanted to stay in power and money did exchange hands. It was most shameful for Indian democracy. The BJP MPs did the right thing by showing the money they were offered. Indian people have to know what happens behind closed doors. To bring the money into parliament too was the right thing to do. It's the epicentre of Indian politics and everything should be loud and clear in that place. Corruption is running high in this country and I'm glad that broadcasters were able to capture what went over there. It's absolutely necessary."