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

 

Solution is in people’s hands

No law or rule can stop tainted politicians from fighting elections because such laws are introduced and amended from time to time by such politicians only. We can see how Bills on issues like office of profit and reservation are being passed by a thumping majority in both the Houses, cutting across all political differences.

Only solution to this problem lies in the hands of the people (the voters), who ultimately suffer because of such politicians. It is ironic that rich and educated people of the society are alienating themselves from politics. If they really want to change the political system, they should not only join politics, but also come forward to motivate common people.

The public should rise above caste, religion and region-based politics. Though the divide on such basis has been deep-rooted in our political system, they should stop being used as political pawns. The media can play a constructive role by motivating people and highlighting the wrongdoings of politicians.

Dr S. S. VERMA, Longowal

II

A democratic country’s future lies in the hands of its voters, who are responsible for electing politicians, who in turn are responsible for the downfall or the progress of a nation.

So, we should be more cautious while electing our leaders to conserve our democracy.

As more than half of our population is still illiterate, the responsibilities of the Election Commission multiply in such scenario.

Even if a single case is filed against a politician, he should not be given clean chit for future elections. Political parties should also refrain from giving tickets to tainted politicians who bring a bad name to the country. They should rather give honest candidates that chance.

The judiciary should act sternly against tainted politicians who indulge in malpractices.

BHAVNEET KAUR, Mohali

 

Make voters aware of their rights

Politics in our country has become a game of opportunism, corruption, power and pelf. In our multiparty political system, all parties have only one aim—to gain power by fair or foul means. Corruption is now rampant in our society, and the politicians too are in its clutches. With muscle and money power, a large number of tainted persons have made their way to state Assemblies and Parliament.

The following suggestions should be taken into consideration to stop tainted politicians from fighting elections: According to a Supreme Court ruling (May 2, 2002), every candidate who wants to fight election at the Centre, state`A0and municipal levels should declare his financial records, educational qualifications and criminal records—convictions, acquittals, charges, etc. This directive should be followed strictly. The judicial system should be revamped and fast-track courts should be introduced to decide the charges against the accused who intends to fight election.

Persons having assets disproportionate to their known sources of income should be debarred from filing nomination papers. Political parties should keep tainted`A0persons out of politics. Some minimum qualification should be fixed to encourage youngsters to enter politics. There is a need to make the voters aware of their rights, so that they elect upright people. All parties should select honest and able persons as their candidates.`

Dr. S. K. AGGARRWAL, Amritsar

II

The Supreme Court should come forward and issue a directive that if there is any criminal case against the candidate, the Election Commissioner should debar him from contesting elections. The Union Law Ministry should appoint special judges for fast-track courts, where the cases of tainted politicians can be heard on merit and priority within a specific period and the decision be made at the earliest.

DIWAN CHAND MOHINDRU, Jalandhar City

 

Publish records of politicians

We should first implement the People’s Representation Act religiously. Records of the tainted politician with their photos should be published in a book annually before the commencement of elections. Election officials should invariably refer to this book at the time of the scrutiny of nomination papers of candidates. The book may be titled "Netaon ki Lal Kitab".

ONKAR SINGH RIAR, Nevada, USA

 

Follow ethical code

Within six decades, the quality and the character of Indian polity has deteriorated to such an extent that the whole system is ailing. Recently, we witnessed in the Monsoon Session of Parliament how our representatives went wild. The question once again comes to the fore—how such shady people reach the august Houses?

To prevent such politicians from fighting elections, the enactment of preventive legislation is the need of the hour. The requisite electoral laws would give teeth to the Election Commission for cleaning the system and debar tainted politicians from contesting elections.

All political parties should enforce the code of ethics by shunning such candidates. The Election Commission should educate the electorate through the media so that the people do not vote for a person who stands on the other side of the law.

SURESH KHOSLA, Chandigarh

NOC should be mandatory

The following are my suggestions: The Supreme Court should define the word ‘tainted’ as today’s politicians interpret it in their own way. The government should constitute a three-member non-political committee of retired judges. After verifying all facts and figures, this committee can issue a clearance certificate to candidates. The Election Commission, after scrutinising these facts and figures microscopically, can issue an NOC (no-objection certificate). So, the clearance certificate and NOC should be the eligibility criteria for fighting election. The media should play a healthy role by educating the masses, so that only honest and clean politicians could have access to the Houses.

Dr P. K. MITTAL, Nabha

 

Shun tainted persons

It is a matter of grave national concern and shame that politics in our country is getting more and more criminalised. The use of muscle and money power is playing a dominant role in the final outcome of elections. The mandatory legal requirement for a candidate to disclose his criminal antecedents, if there are any, has failed to curb the entry of tainted politicians into Parliament and state legislatures. Such politicians pose a serious threat to an efficient, fair and law-based governance of the country.

A law needs to be enacted so that those politicians against whom charges have been framed, but who have not yet been convicted, would not be eligible to contest election, since the framing of the charges itself is a prima facie evidence of their not being innocent.

At present, a politician is debarred from contesting the election only if he is convicted. However, there should be a bar on his contesting in elections till he is acquitted of all charges levelled against him.

The people too need to change their attitude towards such politicians. Rising above petty considerations of caste, colour and creed, such politicians should be given a humiliating drubbing at the hustings. This will give the right signal, that there is no room for tainted people in Indian politics. Political parties should also shun tainted persons, so that they don’t get entry into law-making bodies.

R. L.GOEL, Ladwa (Kurukshetra)

 

Character verification is must

Every organisation endeavours to recruit people who are well qualified for the job prescribed and also bear good moral character. Sometimes, even their character verification is sought through the police. Thus, it becomes imperative that character verification of the candidates should be done before elections.

The Election Commission should not be satisfied by the simple declaration form received from contestants. It must be verified that the candidate is actually a man beyond doubtful integrity. If he is an accused and facing some charges, the Election Commission should reject his nomination papers because such a person can’t be expected to serve the people honestly.

Character verification assumes significance in view of the fact that so many frauds, murders, scams, etc. are taking place daily. Today political corruption is the fountainhead of all types of corruption. So, only those persons who have clean image should be allowed to contest elections. This can surely ensure a clean political system, and society can make some worthwhile progress.

R.D. BHARDWAJ, New Delhi

 

Launch literacy campaign

The whole political system is contaminated. We elect politicians as our leaders so that they can work for the betterment of our country, but they are busy filling their own pockets. So, there is need to launch a literacy movement in the country because educated people can elect better leaders for the country.

Strict rules should be laid for contesting elections, and the Election Commission should strictly implement them. If there is a criminal case against a politician, he should be debarred from taking part in any kind of political activity. The media should also expose corrupt politicians. The public should socially boycott such politicians. There should be a selection board to select able candidates for fighting elections.

MANDEEP SINGH GILL, Amritsar

 

Set up electoral colleges

The following steps should be taken to stop tainted politicians from fighting elections: All candidates should be required to file an affidavit regarding their background stating therein their occupation in the past as well as present, their sources of income, their residence, the political party on whose ticket they want to fight elections and the political party they represented in the past.

The affidavit should be supported by proper proofs viz their occupational proof, income proof, residence proof, certificate by the party officials stating`A0their candidate’s genuineness, etc.

Further, this affidavit should be attested by an official of the Election Commission of the state in which the candidate is to fight election.

The Election Commission official should be empowered to bar any candidate from fighting election, if he finds him tainted.

Another way to stop tainted politicians from fighting elections is setting up of electoral colleges in each district. A certificate from such colleges should be made mandatory for each politician wishing to fight elections.

The admission to such colleges should be solely made after verification of nature and background of politician seeking admission to such college. Such colleges should be run by a committee of eminent personalities like jurists, teachers, etc.

The general public should be made aware of above steps through the media, so as to cleanse our election system and stop tainted politicians from fighting elections.

SANJAY CHAWLA, Amritsar

 

Enact law to bar criminals

A politician with a criminal background is an affront to democracy. It is an open secret how elections in our country are won by money and muscle power. Without any legal sanction, criminals fight elections, and get elected even from jails.

Tainted politicians can be stopped from fighting elections only if there is a strong political will to fight criminalisation of politics. If all political parties are hand-in-glove with criminals, how can we expect clean governance?

The first step should be to enact a legislation that forbids a charge-sheeted individual to fight elections. A crime is a crime, and there should not be any classification of crimes as political or otherwise. The next step should be the proper implementation of the law. The Election Commission should be bestowed with all the powers required to enforce the law in letter and spirit.

RAJIV BHALLA, Chandigarh

 

Educated youth should join politics

To stop tainted politicians from fighting elections at all levels and of all kinds, we need drastic changes in our democratic set-up that calls for political reforms with concrete plan of action and political will with sense of responsibility by all stakeholders.

The knowledge revolution makes a strong case for the educated youth to join politics, so that the malpractices adopted in elections by tainted politicians can be checked. It is because of political neutrality and indifferent attitude of the educated class that standards in politics are deteriorating.

There is need to identify the causes of bad governance in our country, with special reference to crime.

A model of good governance consisting of best practices flowing from ancient Indian and western political thought to contemporary political thought is must for the country. Good governance can play an important role in containing crime and corruption and in the smooth functioning of Indian politics.

The need of the hour is an empowerment movement that would let the ordinary citizens to reach their full potential and turn India into a confident, prosperous global leader. Today, a crusade for moral regeneration for change is needed.

Prof M. M. Goel, Kurukshetra

 

Negative voting is the key

A spotlessly white-and-starched apparel of many of our politicians would give an impression to the uninitiated, which is quite contrary to the reality, i.e., there is plenty of muck lying hidden underneath the sartorial elegance of our political elite. Sir Winston Churchill was astute enough to see the shape of things to come, and said as much, during a debate on India’s Independence in the House of Commons, but our founding fathers who framed the Constitution, somehow overlooked the possibility of tainted individuals masquerading as political leaders and occupying the highest positions of power.

In today’s scenario, negative voting appears to be a fairly practical and harmless way of weeding out the tainted from the political arena, whereby the voter is given the right to vote against rather than voting for a contestant. If 50 per cent or more of the voters vote against a candidate, he/she should be disqualified from contesting future elections.

M. K. BAJAJ, Gurgaon

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