Source: 
IBN Live
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/punjab-polls-money-liquor-drugs-flowing-freely/224268-37-170.html
Author: 
Sumon K Chakrabarti
Date: 
25.01.2012
City: 
New Delhi

Across the five states getting ready for the Assembly elections, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa, nearly Rs 45 crore of illegal money has been seized so far. Out of that, nearly Rs 30 crore has been seized from Punjab only. But it's not just cash, which is the king during elections. In the state with the maximum number of crorepati candidates in the fray, everything is flowing freely, from liquor to drugs to money.

In Punjab, it is turning out to be a deadly concoction to win votes. Sources in the Election Commission say that money is just the tip of the iceberg to buy votes in Punjab. Candidates have been distributing liquor freely, 11,206 litres of illicit liquor and 1,43,070 country liquor bottles have been confiscated.

The biggest and the more unique lure in Punjab is drugs. Two weeks back, Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi had summoned the Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau OPS Malik. The biggest problem discussed was the addiction of poppy husk in the Majha belt, from Ferozepur to Amritsar. Since then, 2,300 kg poppy husk, 7 kg of heroin worth nearly Rs 65 crore in the international market, 10 kg opium and hundreds of kilograms of other drugs have been seized.

All this has been happening in the state with the highest number of crorepati candidates in fray. In 2012, 266 candidates are crorepatis, while in the 2007 Assembly elections, only 184 candidates were crorepatis.

Karan Kaur of Congress (Muktasar) has the maximum assets worth Rs 128.4 crore, followed by Shirmani Akali Dal's prince-in-waiting Sukhbir Singh Badal (Jalalabad), posting assets of Rs 90.8 crore.

Kewal Singh Dhillon of Congress (Barnala) has assets worth Rs 78.5 crore and Captain Amrinder Singh has assets worth Rs 45 crore. The source of the above data is National Election Watch.

Clearly, in Punjab, money flows as freely as drugs and liquor. Over and above, in a state which has the highest number of immigration agencies, accounted foreign exchange is in abundance and the hawala operators are having a field day. It is not an easy task for the Election Commission.

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