Ranchi: Votes of MLAs during Rajya Sabha elections in Jharkhand are bought and sold to ensure the victory of a particular candidate. An IBN-Cobrapost investigation has found that MLAs from various political parties in the state take money to vote for a particular candidate during elections.
Tek Lal Mahto is a MLA belonging to Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the party that claims credit for the creation of Jharkhand. JMM chief, Shibu Soren, was charged in one of the most high profile bribery scandals in the country, the JMM Bribery scam, for selling his vote to save PV Narasimha Rao's government. Now Mahto is willing to sell his vote, to further his own interests.
When the reporter asks Mahto how many MLAs can be arranged, he replied four of five. Mahto also demanded more than Rs 1 crore for just one vote for a Rajya Sabha candidate.
So the going rate of Jharkhand MLAs is Rs 1 crore. Mahto wants Rs 1 crore to sell his vote and even help us in poaching more MLAs. He talks about the big industrialist from Punjab who is allegedly spending huge sums of money to get to the Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand.
When the reporter says there are three strong candidates out of which two are already in Jharkhand and one Independent is coming from Rajasthan, Mahato says no one was ahead right now.
Mahato also says one of the candidates KD Singh has been spending only in one direction when the reporter says Singh is likley to win as he has been spending so much money.
When Mahato is asked that Singh may not have paid him, the MLA says Singh has been spending money in just one place. "Does he think only one person will vote for him?" asks Mahato.
Mahato also claims that Singh had not given any money to Suresh, other Independent MLAs and Vijesh Singh.,
One of the people Mahto refers to is veteran JMM leader Simon Marandi, who takes pride in fighting for the tribals of Jharkhand. When this investigation met Simon Marandi, we met yet another politician only interested in lining his own pockets.
Marandi tells the reported to keep Rs 2 crore ready and adds that he will try to get others along. He says that he wants Rs 2 crore just for himself. He says he will also talk to others and tell the reporter to make the payments.
When asked if he can get three to four people, Marandi replies, "I haven't spoken to anyone yet as they are not tame animals".
He once again reiterates that he wants Rs 2 crore.
So Marandi, voted in by the people of Jharkhand, is sold for Rs 2 crore.
Both Marandi and Mahto are MLAs of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and agree to sell their votes. The more the number of MLAs with them, the higher their price tag.