Who is to blame for criminalisation of politics ? Party or people?
Lucknow: The election in Uttar Pradesh and four other states is a testing time for political class which advocates against decriminalisation of politics during the non-election time and conveniently forget it during the election time. Will the new year usher in a change? People spoken to answer more in the negative. But one should wait before the pronouncing the judgement as all the lists of candidates are not yet out.
Politicians' aversion to principles can be traced back to post-renaissance period. French warrior and ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte who died in 1821 and was born in 1769 has been quoted as saying , "great difficulty with the politics is that there are no established principles. Politics and principles seldom gell with each other".
There has been little change, if any, since then. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, in fact, there been a rising trend in selection and election of candidates with criminal background. It is more noticeable since 2002 in Uttar Pradesh although the practice began in late 'sixties after the Congress split in 1969. The reason is winnability. In that year 206 such candidates were declared victorious in the assembly polls. The number was more than the total seats for which elections were held in the state. In other words, more tainted candidates had won election than the non-tainted ones.
Expectedly, in the next assembly election in the state more such elements were fielded. The Bahujan Samaj Party topped the list with selection of 36 per cent tainted candidates, followed by the Samajwadi Party ( 27 per cent ). They did not disappoint . The BSP which provided more tickets to this class of people formed the government in the state,dislodging the SP government. The next assembly election which is the latest saw no major change.
They were favoured despite the apex court warning and order asking contestants to record the criminal cases pending against them. Several committees have been set up since 1990 to change the scenario but the situation remains more or less the same.
The Election Commission too had taken note of it and made suggestions from time to time to the government. For instance, the then electoral body chief, G V G Krishna Murti had noticed in 1997 that out of the total 1.37 lakh candidates in the field for the Lok Sabha seats as many as 1500 had criminal background. Even then U P and Bihar had topped.
More than 4800 sitting Lok Sabha and state assemblies members then were facing some criminal charges . Many of them were charged with serious cases such as kidnapping and murder.
Ask a tainted politician and he will ask a counter question, " why don't you ask voters"? In a democracy people are the masters. " When they have not rejected us, how can you". Political parties also take a refuge in it.Clearly, some new and hard measures are required to be taken to end this menace.
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