Do India's political parties condone corruption?

India parliament Nearly a third of Indian MPs face criminal charges

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A panel reviewing India's laws on sex crimes after the fatal gang rape of a student has highlighted the problem of criminalisation of politics and asked lawmakers facing severe charges to voluntarily quit as a mark of respect to the parliament and the constitution.

Last year, India's most respected election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms informed us that nearly a third of MPs - 158 of 543 - in the parliament faced criminal charges.

New research has now thrown up more bad news.

After examining affidavits filed by candidates to the Election Commission at the time of contesting elections, the watchdog found that a third of all lawmakers at the centre and all states - or 1,448 of 4,835 - faced criminal charges.

A total of 641 declared serious criminal cases like rape, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery and extortion, among other things.

The watchdog also found that 98 candidates facing corruption cases were given tickets by various political parties during general and state elections in the last five years. Thirty-six of them have won the polls. They include seven MPs and 29 state legislators.

All parties appear to be responsible for this disturbing state of affairs.

The Congress party, which has promised people stronger anti-corruption laws, actually gave tickets to 24 candidates facing corruption charges in general and state assembly polls in the last five years.

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gave tickets to five such candidates. Six key regional parties gave away tickets to 35 such candidates.

During the last general elections alone, 15 candidates with corruption cases against them were given tickets by political parties - the Congress party awarded four such candidates.

There's more.

A total of 80 candidates facing corruption charges have been given tickets by political parties in elections to state assemblies in the last five years. Twenty-nine of them have won the elections and are currently serving as lawmakers.

The majority (eight) belong to the Congress party, and most of the winners (seven) are from the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

All this makes for very depressing news. It also makes many wonder whether India's political parties can ever be serious about fighting corruption when they condone it so openly.

When will they stop giving tickets to candidates facing criminal and corruption charges? What about "fast-tracking" the cases against MPs and legislators facing these charges? The political class is totally silent on these matters.

Soutik Biswas, Delhi correspondent Article written by Soutik Biswas Soutik Biswas Delhi correspondent

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  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Napoleon didn't rise to power by doing charity. He must have killed many innocent people.
    In summary, to lead a horde of people, you have to be brutal to your dissidents. That is no crime if you look things from a bigger perspective.
    On another note, US killing of civilians in Afghan War is no work of charity. Its the same crime that these Corrupt politicians have done.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Caste = Corrupt by birth.
    90% of corrupt money ($2 trillion) is with people and 10 of them also evaded $100 billion to Banks in India. Their population in India is less than 15%.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    It is sad Soutik Biswas continues to publish this over and over again.
    Mr. Soutik put yourself in their position would you condone it?
    Would Vajpayee or Advani or Rahul condone it - absolutely not.
    Ask yourself why would they do it and why should they.
    Would you want criminals to work alongside you - definitely not.
    Would security agencies allow this.-- Absolutely not.
    get real!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    It is very sad, so many obviously well educated people have agreed with this proposition - It boggles my mind.
    What are they trying to solve, what are they trying to teach or inform us or expecting to convey a message to political parties to mend their ways.
    It is sad and shocking that Verma commission after doing excellent job has gone way outside its charter to condemn the political class.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Indian lawmakers and politicians have delivered progress with dignity, security and peace over an extended period of time to a very large number of people. No one else had more hurdles in their way - look at Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Burma,Iran, Afganistan and so on and China as well. I fully recall the fate of Educated Classes in China as late as 70s.


Comments 5 of 119



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