The eye-opener by the former Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla (editorial page, Nov. 21) clearly shows why the people of India are disillusioned with politicians. It is not that political parties do not know about the legal problems and moral implications of fielding criminals or their proxies as candidates in elections. It is just that they cannot do without criminals as criminality has intertwined itself with politics. Insofar as Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s outburst and Mr. Chawla’s statement that if the said Ordinance had been passed “it would have officially endorsed that criminality in parliamentary ranks was perfectly acceptable,” I would like to say that even otherwise, criminality in politics is unofficially endorsed, accepted and welcomed by all parties. To ask them to reform the system by shunning criminal candidates is like asking for the moon.
Since Independence, the Indian political system has shown up many aberrations — from the criminalisation of politics to the politicisation of criminals. The use of goon power to grab power has become the norm, a factor most parties have understood to be essential in ensuring a win. The only hope left is for the judiciary to step in where the executive and legislature have failed in cleansing the political system. One also takes hope from steps such as the introduction of NOTA and the framing of guidelines by the Election Commission in connection with freebies.
Shaikh Jamir Munir,
I would like to ask people why there is such a lack of direction in addressing the issue of criminality. Why do criminals still come to power? The biggest enemies of our political system are heredity of power, nepotism and corruption. I do hope that voters do not take the easy way out by exercising NOTA, and instead force parties to select candidates with credibility and who are honest.
It is illogical to assume that political parties will clean up the mess themselves. We cannot expect lawmakers to pass laws against themselves. Instead, it is the common man with his voting power who can force a change. We have to be smart in choosing our representatives. Another source of hope for us is our judiciary and the Election Commission in ushering in transparency.