Q: What should be done to stop tainted politicians from fighting elections?
This is the fourth instalment of readers’ response.

SC and EC alone have the power

All political parties field candidates with criminal background to win maximum seats. It’s the same set of leaders that says that unless one is convicted, he or she should be treated as innocent. They know well that in our criminal justice system, only the poor and weak are convicted. Rich persons with criminal background can win over or intimidate witnesses and even buy justice, as corruption is rife in lower courts.

Voters are helpless, as a candidate with criminal background has nexus with the police and the powerful persons of his party. You cannot expect the voter to challenge him.

Many voters are poor and illiterate, who can be purchased. Middle-class voters are generally tied to one party ideology or the other. They cannot oppose their own candidate even when he or she has a criminal background, as party high commands decide these things. The upper class and highly educated citizens do not vote, as they have lost confidence in our system.

Our leaders do not have words like morality, integrity and ethics in their dictionary. When the Election Commission last year asked political parties to get each candidate to declare his or her assets, leaders from all parties stood together and refused to comply with the directive.

When leaders increase their pay and perks, not even a single Member of Parliament objects. Only the Supreme Court or the Election Commission has the power to debar persons with criminal background from contesting the elections.


Candidates should not campaign

The Election Commission should be equipped with stronger teeth to curb tainted politicians. Anyone with criminal background should not be allowed to contest election even at the panchayat level, let alone legislature.

The Election Commission should evolve a code of ethics for candidates. They who would violate these conditions should on no account be allowed to enter politics. However strong the person may be, election campaigning should be banned altogether. Canvassing entails huge expenditure, to cover which, politicians suck up to business tycoons and goons. The Election Commission itself should publicise the details of each candidate. It should display the background of the candidates in their constituencies.

Once a person is elected, he should be under the strict surveillance of the Election Commission. If at any time, he or she is found guilty of gross negligence in the discharge of his or her duties, his election should be annulled and the candidate should be disqualified for life.

As long as political parties are free to campaign for themselves, we cannot stop tainted persons from entering politics.


Article 103 gives the answer

Today, politics has become the playground of goons and murderers, where corrupt politicians like Sadhu Yadav, Taslimuddin and Shibu Soran thrive. Is it really possible to stop tainted politicians from fighting elections? The Constitution itself provides us with the answer, under the Article 103.

The President can refer the question of disqualification to the Election Commission and by the virtue of Article 103 (2), the opinion of the Election Commission has been made binding on the President. There is no need to take the advice of the Council of Ministers on this issue.

The Election Commission should be made more free and independent from the control of legislature for holding free and fair elections. We have to create conditions so that honest men with high character, vision and dignity could enter the House.

Persons whose guilt has been established once, like they who have accepted cash for asking questions, should be disqualified forever. The media and the young blood should join hands to awaken the Aam Admi. They have to launch a campaign against tainted politicians, so that we have the confidence to defeat the goons. The youth have to form their own political parties who would give ticket only to they who deserve to represent us.

SANDEEP KAUR KHURANA, Jamalpur, Ludhiana

Reform the tainted

The ancient saints reformed many robbers, killers and hardcore criminals. Even the present system reforms criminals in jails. Why stop the poor tainted politician from fighting the election when 99 per cent of our society is tainted, corrupt, selfish, power hungry, unpatriotic and cheat. Anyone who has either muscle or money and abused it is not different from a common criminal.

Spiritualism should re-enter our lives so that all ill-gotten wealth and authority should become useless. Turning Parliament House into a wrestling arena serves no purpose. Alexander the Great, who died at the age of 32, could not take even a needle from his vast empire into the other world. When the majority is tainted, it’s hard to stop them from fighting elections. Our laws are flexible, so the tainted would find ways to twist these. Only strict laws can help. If tainted politicians are a matter of shame for judiciary and the government, these institutions should act now.

SHER SINGH, Ludhiana

Voters have limited choice

A critic has said: “Democracy is a government by the fools.” Today, it is a government by the tainted. Citizens have no alternative, politics has become a profession and an easy way to roll in wealth and settle old scores.

The people with brawns are in and intellectuals and honest persons are out of politics. Today no one follows this dictum: “Ask not what the country has done for you; ask what you have done for the country.”

If a tainted politician is stopped from entering the electoral fray, he offers his seat to his kin and rule from behind the bars. Only enlightenment from the voters can stop them, but they have only a limited choice.

Abu Salem, too, wants to fight election.

RAM CHANDER NEHRA, Satrod Khurd (Hisar)

Leaders can’t be their own judges

The answer to the question can prolong into volumes. Legislation, as per the Constitution, should be promulgated, on the authority of which, tainted politicians should not be allowed to fight elections.

Corruption is rampant in politics because of misuse of funds. The recent hike in the remunerations of the MPs has touched Rs 1 lakh a month, inclusive of allowances and perks. After retirement, the worthy public representative is entitled to a good pension, whereas, the man in the street, who stands neglected in old age, hardly gets even Rs 300 per month from the exchequer.

Nothing can be done to prevent tainted politicians from fighting elections, as there is no law to deal with such ugly tainted-ness. In India, there is no political party which objects to accepting tainted politicians. All politicians are themselves culprits and their own judges, too, which shouldn’t be.

BANARSI DASS BHATIA, Kt. Sher Singh, Amritsar

Publish corruption charges

India is a democratic country and politics is its fundamental instrument. This instrument gives us power, which if used correctly, can lead us to development, but many times, this power falls into the wrong hands.

It should be made mandatory for political parties to publish the charges of corruption against their candidates, so that the people could decide for themselves.

The Elections Commission should be given more freedom and power. The minimum qualification (say at least graduation) should be made essential for everyone contesting assembly and Lok Sabha elections. If a person is found guilty, he or she should be heavily fined and banned for life from politics.


Lay down minimum qualification

In India, every person who has crossed the age of 18 has the right to contest elections of a local body, Provincial Assembly or Parliament, whether he possesses any educational qualification or not. There is prescribed qualification for getting the post of even a peon, but no qualification is required for becoming an MLA, Member of Parliament or even a Minister, Chief Minister or Prime Minister. The day has come when most of the MLAs and MPs are illiterate persons with criminal background.

There should be minimum educational qualification for contesting the election, as the person who has gone through school and college is more likely to uphold moral values.

Any person against whom a criminal case is registered should not be allowed to contest the election. They who were acquitted because there was a lack of evidence, or they got the benefit of doubt or witnesses turned hostile after a time should also be disqualified similarly.

BRIJ MOHAN DATTA, Dholewal, Ludhiana

Revive patriotic zeal

Today, our country is not the India that our martyrs and freedom fighters had envisaged. It is infested with injustice, corruption, inequality, casteism and communalism. The only religion our freedom fighters knew was patriotism.

The educated class is also responsible for corruption in politics. We are a powerful lot, who should know the power of our vote, but petty interests lure us. We have a tendency to blame destiny for everything.

The social welfare organisations should see to it that the benefits of all government schemes should reach the common man. This will bring in awareness that the common man is the real king.





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