Politics witnessing erosion in India
Masses in India are not educated enough and can be easily influenced by money or muscle power
Syed Mustafa Ahmad
Criminalisation of politics can be defined as the erosion of the good political people or people with selfish gains have entered the political arena. These days’ people with criminal background find it easy to become members of the Parliament or legislative assembly. This gives rise to a kind of situation where there is great deal of erosion of values, dearth or lack of security of life, lack of transparency and accountability, rampant corruption, etc.
Today in order to win an election, a candidate requires only manpower, muscle power and money power. People with these things cannot think of losing an election, though a person with good leadership qualities and devotion of service to society may lose his security money.
Bad practice seems to have driven out clean traditions of political behavior. The voters, political parties and the law and order machinery are all equally responsible for the criminalisation of politics. These days’ political parties look for people with criminal background who will be having muscle power and who can extract money from general public to meet up their election expenses and win the election by hook or by crook. People within a party must have the courage to speak against and turn out such candidates from the elections.
Masses in India are not educated enough and can be easily influenced by money or muscle power. Middle class is either manipulative or apathetic to the whole electoral process, which provides scope for criminal elements in politics. The poor need the basic things of life like food, water and shelter. They need it in any way. They want the safety of their lives and have to do nothing with the character of any candidate.
Under the current law, only people who have been convicted at least twice can be debarred from becoming candidates. This leaves the field open for chargesheeted criminals. Does it not seem that the political parties themselves are not interested in changing the system? In certain constituencies, it has been observed that people vote for a particular candidate not in support of his agenda or his previous work done but because of the dire consequences that they may have to face after elections.
The failure of the state machinery in ensuring free and fair elections is apparent here. Political parties continue to seek support of the criminals for electoral malpractices like booth capturing and rigging. For instance, the rigging of elections in 1987 is a good example of this. In that very year, the empty slogans of participative democracy were proved false in Kashmir by the custodians of democracy.
Today, the biggest problem in the country is the weak enforcement and the Indian Penal Code. People take law for granted. Even on committing a serious crime line murder, the criminal escapes punishment in lack of ample evidence or may get the benefit of doubt due to slackness of an investigating officer. These situations make the criminals bolder and they get encouraged.
In the interest of practical and immediate solution, it is easy to state that one must depend on the power of force and coercion to put an end to criminalisation of politics rather than vague notions of morality. If we assume that the election is sufficiently corruption free, voters only have to blame themselves if they elect a criminal.
A voter’s friends and family may vote for that party but it is up to the individual voter to reject that candidate if he or she suspects that the candidate is corrupt. Highly educated and capable people generally do not opt politics as a career, they will rather prefer business or some other job or may even go abroad for further studies or job opportunities.
It requires courage and bravery to contest an election. More the educated people do not opt for politics as career more the criminals will enter into it. Violence and criminalisation can be effectively tackled by inspiring leadership.
Political parties must break ties with are armed gangs and shun violence in political activities. Election Commission should act to prevent convicted criminals from entering politics. Every citizen who fails to take part in the process of discouraging criminalisation of politics even in any small way should be held responsible for the degeneration of politics to such an extent that it is today dominated by convicts and history-sheeters.
A healthy environment should be created where good politics is discussed. Both positive and negative effects are clearly defined. Awareness should be the concern of those who want to take our country forward. True leaders should come forward and do their best for the sake of welfare state.