Crime and politics: on political candidates with criminal records

The Supreme Court has taken a timely decision by agreeing to hear a plea from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to direct political parties to not field candidates with criminal antecedents. The immediate provocation is the finding that 46% of Members of Parliament have criminal records. While the number might be inflated as many politicians tend to be charged with relatively minor offences —“unlawful assembly” and “defamation” — the real worry is that the current cohort of Lok Sabha MPs has the highest (29%) proportion of those with serious declared criminal cases compared to its recent predecessors. Researchers have found that such candidates with serious records seem to do well despite their public image, largely due to their ability to finance their own elections and bring substantive resources to their respective parties. Some voters tend to view such candidates through a narrow prism: of being able to represent their interests by hook or by crook. Others do not seek to

Abolition politics: on A.P. Cabinet nod to abolish Legislative Council

The abolition and revival of the second chamber in State legislatures have become matters of political expediency. Andhra Pradesh is the latest State to favour the alteration of the status quo regarding the Upper House, in an Assembly resolution for its Legislative Council’s abolition. A.P. Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s drastic step comes after key legislation intended to take forward his three-capital proposal was referred to a select committee by the Council, in which his party does not have a majority. His grievance: the Council is working with a political agenda to block his proposal. While the need for a bicameral legislature in the States has often been questioned, few would support the idea that the potential difficulty in getting the Council’s approval should be a reason for its abolition. Chief Ministers ought to bear the possible delay that the Council’s opinion or course of action may cause, and seek to build a legislative consensus instead of pushing their
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Retrieving the idea of citizenship

Kalpana Kannabiran
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Comment

A case of wholehearted biotechnology adoption

Ram Kaundinya
“It has now become almost impossible for anyone to claim to be a BJP voter or a Modi supporter without also taking ownership of the Hindutva agenda.” BJP supporters during the Prime Minister’s rally in New Delhi.
Comment

The tragedy of the regime’s co-travellers

G. Sampath

The enemies of writing

A.S. Panneerselvan

Why 'Delhi-6' resonates even more today than it did 10 years ago

Namrata Joshi

A lit fest for a republic

Ruchir Joshi
Collegial group From left: C. Rajagopalachari, Governor-General; Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru; Lieutenant-General K.M. Cariappa; Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Ambassador to the USSR; Sardar Baldev Singh, Defence Minister; and Lady Bucher, wife of Sir Roy Bucher, the last British Commander-in-Chief, on January 14, 1949, a day prior to Cariappa’s assumption of office as Commander-in-Chief.
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The commander’s canon

Baljit Singh
Hunger for books Crowds at the Chennai Book Fair.
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If I were a book… all is fair

Mini Krishnan
 
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The thin line of healing

Usha Jesudasan