Karl Marx—who is said to have once declared, “I do not like money, money is the reason we fight”—must be spinning in his grave knowing that his supposed modern-day disciples disagree with him. Last week Indian television footage showed Samar Acharjee, an official of the CPI(M) party in the eastern Indian state of Tripura, the only state in India currently ruled by a Marxist government, rolling in cash. Literally.
A construction contractor by profession, 50-year-old Acharjee had reportedly withdrawn the money from his own bank account and filmed himself lying on it using his mobile phone, the video of which was leaked on the internet by a friend. Acharjee, who has since been expelled by his party, is heard boasting on the footage, with money spread over his body and face, that his dream is to lie on a bigger bed of cash than the present $24,000 and that, unlike his colleagues, he was not a “hypocrite” who “depict themselves as proletariat, yet have a huge amount of money.”
Bizarre though the incident is, it’s hardly the first time India’s political class has reveled in its cash. In 2010, the profligate Mayawati, then-chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, flaunted a garland of cash worth around $30,000. And as recently as last Saturday, a politician from the Hindu nationalist BJP party was censured by the election commission for showering cash on people at a religious celebration in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.