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Ban criminals from entering Parliament

The spate of front-page editorials by H.K. Dua, leaders, articles and scores of letters in the recent past, advocating people’s welfare and improvement in the quality of democracy, prove that The Tribune is indeed the “Voice of the People”. In his latest front-page editorial, “Parliament: The bold, the beautiful and the ugly” (July 24), Mr Dua has succinctly examined the current political scenario and people’s aspirations. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, said Lord Acton. This has been proved time and again by our politicians — national or regional, big or small — as they have enjoyed absolute power at one time or the other and achieved many a dubious distinction.

Calling a spade a spade, Mr Dua tersely echoed the query, “Will the political parties assure the people that they will not put up criminals as candidates and also abjure use of tainted money for getting elected?” Being fully aware of stark realities, he added: “if they do not give this assurance, the people will themselves have to begin cleansing the system; they should not wait for the politicians to take the initiative they may be reluctant to take”.


In this onerous task, the judiciary and the Election Commission should come to the people’s rescue. Surely, a T.N. Seshan can do it. In all elections, ballot papers must have the option — “None of the above candidates”. In case this option gets maximum votes, the constituency should remain unrepresented in the legislature. In cases involving serious crimes, the judges should debar (specifically) the convicts from taking part in any electoral activity (from behind bars) during the period of sentence, as part of the punishment. The Supreme Court should confirm such convictions in public interest.



In the debate preceding the confidence motion, the members were given time to express their views freely. This shows that the world’s largest democracy is strongest! The national motto ‘Satya Meva Jayate’ adorning the walls of the august house is implicitly adhered and emulated by the members. The UPA government won the majority vote. Crores of people were jubilant, as they watched it on television.

But alas! The two-day special session was marred by the presence of criminals and bootleggers undergoing sentences in the jails who were brought to Parliament for their “valuable” votes. Shibu Soren, the JMM MP, who had taken bribe in 1993, along with other MPs, was again doing hard bargaining with the Congress leadership on berths for him and another person in the Union Cabinet in exchange for their votes. Several MPs abstained. Worse, three BJP MPs showed wads of currency of Rs 1,000 denomination in the House. Is this the standard of morality, integrity and democracy we emulate and aspire for? Do these MPs deserve to remain as such?



Mr Dua’s front-page editorial is brilliant and balanced. I would also like to say what constituted “the bold, the beautiful and the ugly”. The bold sceanario was reflected by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; the beautiful was depicted by Speaker Somnath Chatterjee’s excellent handling of the proceedings and the ugly by the “Cash for votes” episode. Criminals must be banned from contesting elections. At the same time, graduation should be made the minimum qualification for candidates to contest the elections.

Corruption is like a cigarette. As cigarette is injurious to the citizen’s health, corruption is equally injurious to the nation’s health. Every currency should hereafter carry the statutory warning, ‘Corruption is injurious to the nation’s health’.

As regards the “Cash for votes” scam, those pointing an accusing finger towards others should realise that the fingers are pointing towards them. Though not an astrologer, I foresee Mr L.K. Advani’s fate best wrapped up in the following couplet:

Umra-e-Daraaz Se Maang Kay
Laye Thai Chaar Din
Do Arzoo Mein Kat Gaye
Do Intezaar Mein!

K.J.S. AHLUWALIA, Amritsar


The entire world watched with fingers crossed as the UPA government survived the confidence vote. I was surprised at the way Ms Mayawati tried to impose herself as Prime Minister. I admire her courage, her struggle in life to be able to rise to the post of Chief Minister in spite of being a woman and Dalit.

But I am afraid, she is trying to impose herself as Prime Minister though her party has less than 10 per cent MPs in the Lok Sabha. She should realise that in a multi-ethnic democracy, the Prime Minister represents the whole country and not just a section of society. She may well have to amend her policies and make herself acceptable to majority of the people.


Poaching of doctors

The news about the poaching of doctors by private hospitals set up by industrial houses (July 14) reveals how the allurement of money is making renowned members of the noble profession of medicine “marketable individuals”.

A well-known doctor quits Chandigarh’s PGI for a hefty salary in Fortis and is further hired at a higher price by the owner of a Rs-100 crore hospital opened for affluent patients. If hiring of a doctor is easy, so must be his firing if he fails to generate enough money for his commercially motivated hospital.

Who attracts patients? A doctor or a hospital? The PGI, Chandigarh, had a few well-known doctors, but patients throng to it. Why? Its aim of providing quality health care to everyone at affordable cost, its efficient administrative set-up and its disciplined and dedicated group of young doctors of varying professional knowledge, abilities and skills. With time, these doctors grew up in the profession and the patients far and wide found them competent, humane and accessible.

Today the PGI has a team of capable doctors in advanced eye centres, cardiology surgery, medicine and other departments who stand committed to the institute and professional dignity even though they find it hard to cope with the ever-increasing number of patients. They carry home pay for below a reasonable figure.

Dr P. S. CHANANA, Chandigarh


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