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

We should have the right to recall

Political parties must ensure that they do not give tickets to tainted politicians to contest elections. Strong public opinion must be formed on the issue. Parties that violate this norm by handing out ticket to such politicians must be dealt with strongly and the Election Commission should be vested with powers to cancel their registration. During campaigning, the commission should publicise the credentials of such politicians and highlight their criminal record/background through television and newspapers.

The media should share this responsibility and ensure that the information reaches the voter. In the face of a tainted politician contesting and winning the election, people should have the right to “recall” him. There must be a law to “veto” the election of such politicians. Citizens must also exercise their “right to vote” and keep such candidates out of power. They should not abstain from voting.

A system should also be evolved as part of election reforms wherein a candidate should be prevented from being declared a winner just by polling more votes than his rival. The votes polled by him should be at least 50 per cent of the total votes polled as per the voting list. “Tainted politicians” (MLAs/MPs/Minister) should be boycotted socially/publicly.

Lt-Col ONKAR CHOPRA (retd), New Delhi


We can keep the tainted politicians away from elections only by educating the masses. Educated people in all sections of society could make the difference.

Laws can be enacted so that no charge-sheeted person is able to fight election. The electorate should have un-ambiguous powers to recall their elected representatives who have become corrupt and a drain on the public exchequer. To keep a constant watch on their conduct, the Election Commission should be given wider powers.

MEHAR CHAND, Bagli Kalan, Ludhiana

Radical steps needed

Politicians are responsible for the current state of affairs. Some months ago, 11 MPs were caught on camera taking bribe for asking questions in Parliament. In another incident, two MPs abused each other and even used muscle power in Lok Sabha. Incidents like these only tarnish the image of the Indian democratic setup.

Radical steps must be taken to stop these tainted politicians from fighting elections. Laws should be enacted to punish such politicians and the Election Commission should keep a tab on them. Also, it is the moral responsibility of voters not to vote for such candidates. Political parties should also avoid giving ticket to such politicians. Social boycott is another weapon to keep such politicians at bay. Exemplary punishment against such persons can also act as a deterrent against politicians with “tainted” image.


Retire them from politics

FROM day one of Independence, tainted ministers have perched themselves on ministerial berths. With time, new parties came up and with this increased the number of tainted politicians.

It’s the voters who give them the opportunity to enter legislative bodies, but parties, too, play a major role when they allot seats to them. Frequently, old faces, liars and tainted persons get the ticket. Their educational background, age, corrupt deeds and scandals are not kept in view. The present lot of leaders of all parties should be retired from politics, to make way for better citizens to come forward.

The Election Commission has done nothing to check tainted persons from entering politics. Even educated persons choose tainted politicians. Imagine the helplessness of the Speaker when tainted politicians come to blows on the floor of the House.

Awareness should spread to schools, colleges and villages. The media, NGOs and scholars should play their role in this regard.


It is up to EC, voter

The democratic setup of India makes it quite difficult to take any legislative action against tainted politicians, because even if some law is enacted, politicians amend it to suit their needs. Therefore, it is for the Election Commission and voters to keep these politicians away from fighting elections. The commission should record and make public the credentials of candidates along with their background. Voters should boycott such politicians by not attending their rallies or voting for them.



This can be only achieved by inculcating in the youth, the future voters, the awareness about electing right leaders with high moral standing. Politicians like Pandit Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri should act as a benchmark in terms of integrity and character for the electorate when they go to vote.

The future electorate can play a pivotal role in preventing tainted persons from fighting elections. The Election Commission should be empowered to lay down strict norms and guidelines for politicians opting to contest elections. Only those with unimpeachable integrity, proper qualification and clean image coupled with consummate political skills should be allowed to file nomination papers.

Verification of credentials and criminal record should be made mandatory. Fast-track courts should be there to decide the criminal cases against politicians well before their filling of nominations. Voters in their respective areas should discourage tainted politicians from fighting elections. They must realise the value of their votes. It is the awakening of voters that can deter “tainted” politicians from fighting elections.



The Election Commission has been formed not only to hold free and fair elections but also to screen candidates taking part in elections. It is the duty of the commission to reject the nomination of “tainted” candidates. This “nip-the-problem-in-the-bud” tactic can go a long way in safeguarding the democracy.



Ideally, Parliament should pass a law preventing “tainted” politicians from fighting elections. However, the biggest hurdle is that Parliament/Assemblies are full of “tainted” politicians. Thus, it is up to the electorate to use the right to franchise and keep “tainted” politicians out. Also, there is an urgent need to bring about electoral reforms. Only educated and qualified people should be allowed to contest elections. The onus, thus, is fairly and squarely on the voter.



Clean, transparent and just administration is impossible as long as there are criminals and corrupt people in Parliament. Unfortunately, political parties give ticket to criminals to ensure that they win more seats, even if it means using muscle or money. People have no other choice but to either elect candidates with criminal record or stay away from the poll. People should vote only for those candidates who have a clean record. Else, they should stay away from voting.

HARBHAGWAN, Jaitu (Faridkot)


The problem can’t be solved until all political parties vow not to give ticket to persons with “tainted” image. Persons with criminal record should be barred from fighting elections. Voters should also avoid casting their ballots in favour of such elements. Besides, the Election Commission must draw a line for who should contest election and who should not. Only qualified and educated people like graduates should be allowed to contest elections. This can contain problematic elements from entering politics. Parties must realise their responsibility towards nation.


Parliament should enact law

Only deterrent measures taken by Parliament can stop tainted politicians from fighting elections. Firstly, Parliament should enact a law to prevent candidates from contesting elections if they have ever been involved in some criminal activity; or a criminal case is registered against them; or have been held guilty by a court of law; or legal proceedings are pending against them.

Secondly, candidates should submit an affidavit, attested by a magistrate, that they stand clear of any wrongdoing. Thirdly, the nomination papers should be scrutinised and candidate’s credentials verified by police officials. Fourthly, in case of election of a “tainted” candidate, his elections should be annulled. Fifthly, voters should shun “tainted” candidates. Finally, justice should be speedy.

Public service commissions in India scan and grill all candidates before deputing police officials to verify their credentials. Their candidature is withheld in case of any wrongdoing. Why so much leverage for politicians then? Tainted politicians should be barred from entering Parliament and state Assemblies.

D.K. AGGARWALA, Hoshiarpur


The police verify the credentials of government servants before employing them. This rule should be followed in case of politicians too. The Election Commission should disallow any politician with a criminal record from contesting elections. In the face of a political party refusing ticket to such candidates, the commission must ensure that they do not contest as Independent candidates.

J.C. MISHRA, Shimla



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