Has A Criminal Record Become An Electoral Asset In India?

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Has A Criminal Record Become An Electoral Asset In India?
Has A Criminal Record Become An Electoral Asset In India?

India is not only the world’s largest democracy, but it’s also home to the largest number of ethnic groups, languages, customs, cuisines, cultures and traditions. We are all very proud of it, and without any second thought, we can boast that no other country in the world can handle such diversity. While this being true, there is another side to the story. We all vote, support and elect people among us in the festival called election expecting they would represent our voice and issues in the temple of democracy. But it seems that our politicians intoxicated with power have forgotten why the people had voted for them. They wander in the corridors of politics and are blinded by the greed and lust for power.

The idea of contesting elections and forming a government for the welfare of the people has long been surpassed by this brand new idea of staying in power for as long as possible. Political parties are ready to do anything and drop to any level in their attempts to do so. We know that Nehru and Vajpayee had well-documented differences on some issues but did we ever hear anyone of them attacking the other using inappropriate language or personal attacks. They had spirited debates in the parliament, but none crossed the moral line of respect and dignity. So much has changed since then. Any matter can now be politicised for personal benefits easily – be it terrorism, farmers suicides etc.

The moral line of dignity and respect is slowly fading away in the midst of greed for power. Our politicians don’t even think twice before making illogical, misogynistic, sexist, racist and communal comments. This not only makes headlines but also feeds their conventional vote bank. These politicians can put any allegation on anyone at any time without any evidence or proof. When the elections approach, we see a new low in politics. Our representatives don’t hesitate to remind who belongs where and in that process they forget, the moment someone gets citizenship of India, they have equal rights as any of us. Slogans like “BJP mukt Bharat” or “Congress mukt Bharat” start hurling in the rallies. This sounds insignificant and ordinary, but the thought behind it is very dangerous and poisonous, revealing their idea of a totalitarian rule.

When the opposition asks a question from the government, those questions are taken as an offence and then retaliated by booms of allegations and counter questions and in this continuous battle, the real questions disappear without a trace. Sometimes we hear political parties opposing the conviction of people convicted of gang rape, other times we see our power lords garlanding people accused of lynching. The grim reality is that our system has undergone a massive criminalisation of politics. As per a news article, 36% or 1765 MPs and MLAs are facing trial in 3045 criminal cases. Interestingly total strength of lawmakers in the parliament and assemblies is 4896.

A change to this system can only be brought through education. We are a young nation, we are energetic, excited, educated, enthusiastic and motivated and we can, and we must bring the change for real. All it takes is making an informed decision at the voting booth on the election day. The Election Commision in every election urges us to read about the people contesting the election in our constituency. All it takes is just a few minutes to check who all have a criminal record. Who has done what for the development of your constituency? This is not rocket science. I believe we all can do this bit for this great nation we call “India- our home”.

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