Election Fraud Kills the Tiger

Indirectly but surely, election fraud kills the tiger in India and Asia. I have already mentioned in a post called, cats and corruption how corruption in government and government agencies in India severely diminishes the effectiveness of any strategies in relation to the preservation of the tiger. That post was not critical of the fact that there is corruption. I was simply quoting people living in Asia. It is the people of India who are critical of the corruption. For me, it is more a sadness that it continues to happen and the tiger population continues to decline.

A recent Time news article (2nd April 2009, "Election payouts were charity, not bribes") supports what I have said, not directly, of course, in relation to wildcats but they quote as an example, Manish Tiwani a spokesman for Congress who told the Times that it was "absolutely preposterous [that it was happening]". Mr Tiwani clearly believes that one of the top leaders of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Party, Mr Jaswat Singh, has been openly trying to bribe his way into Parliament two weeks before the elections.

This seems to be symptomatic of Asian politics and it is in Asia where the tiger has its home. Where there is corruption on what seems to be a significant scale they is little hope of protecting the tiger as big business is invloved in the export of tiger body parts. Where there is business there is money and politicians migrate towards money and business to serve self interest only. And frankly, the tiger gets in the way of making money unless it is being used to make money. It could be argued that the tiger is a financial burden unless used as a supply of body parts in breach of CITES. CITES seems to be openly breached.

It has been claimed that the criminalisation of Indian politics began in the 1980s when the dominance of Congress crumbled and regional groups started to determine the composition of fragile coalition governments. The competition to get votes became tougher and this lead to any means possible to get elected including fraud. The criminal courts are hopelessly inefficient so even if someone is charged with election fraud or vote rigging it may take up to 30 years for the case to be concluded.

In India it seems that the lawmakers are also lawbreakers and under these circumstances it is very hard to make real progress on what might be considered a secondary matter the preservation of the wild tiger in India. Ultimately election fraud kills the tiger.



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