Over the years’ politics’ and ‘corruption’ have come to be used together. Politics is now considered to be a profession that is not suitable for the naive and honest and has become a ‘game of power’ for the sly and corrupt of criminalization.
The influence and direct participation of criminals in our governing bodies have been rising. In the current Lok Sabha, 43% of the MPs face criminal charges.
As per the directives of the Election Commission, all candidates contesting elections have to submit a self-sworn affidavit declaring criminal charges on them.
Despite this, parties nominate these candidates. This article will try and analyze the nexus between criminals and political parties, voters’ behaviour and the laws that exist to prevent the criminalization of politics.
The term criminalization of politics can be understood as a give and take the relationship between the politicians and the criminals.
The desire for absolute power gave entry to criminals and goons into politics.
Political parties who want to gain votes either by hook or by crook, instigate fear among the voters by using muscle power.
Through the bandits, they carry out violent and illegal activities such as capturing polling booths during elections.
Reasons for this Criminalization:
The political parties and independent candidates have astronomical expenditure for vote-buying and other illegitimate purposes through these criminals or so-called gonads.
A politician’s link with them constituency provides a congenial climate to political crime. Those who do not know why they ought to vote to comprise the majority of voters of this country.
Therefore the majority of the voters are manoeuvrable, purchasable, which helps in building a big vote bank.
In every election, all parties without exception put up candidates with a criminal background.
Even though some of us whine about the decision taken by the parties, the general trend is that these candidates are elected to office.
This type of activity forces us to think whether the greatest power of democracy is to drive the disabled out of power?.
Loop Holes in the Functioning of Election Commission:
The Election Commission must take adequate measures to break the nexus between the criminals and the politicians.
The forms prescribed by the Election Commission for candidates disclosing their convictions, cases pending in courts, and so on in their nomination papers is a step in the right direction if it is applied properly.
Too much should not be expected, however, from these disclosures.
They would only inform people of the candidate’s history and qualifications, but not prohibit them from casting their votes, regardless, in favour of a criminal.
Denial of Justice and Rule of Law:
Criminalization is a fact of Indian electoral politics today.
The voters, political parties, and the law and order machinery of the state are all equally responsible for this. There is very little faith in India in the efficacy of the democratic process is actually delivering good governance.
This extends to accepting the criminalization of politics as a fact of life. Toothless laws against convicted criminals standing for elections further encourage this process.
Unholy nexus between politicians and bureaucracy
The most important cause of the criminalization of politics is the unholy nexus between politicians and bureaucracy. Ramchandra Guha (India after Gandhi) says, “In Jawaharlal Nehru’s time the civil service was shielded from politics, transfers.
And promotions and the like were decided within the executive branch itself.
From the 1970s, however, individual bureaucrats came increasingly to ally with individual politicians or political parties.
When the party they allied with was in power, they get the best postings. In return, they energetically implemented the partisan agenda of the politicians”.
The system of party government is also responsible for the criminalization of politics.
On the eve of the general election, the leaders of the party give promises to the electorate. The purpose is to win the election.
If the party luckily comes to power, the members of the ruling party try to implement the promises.
The dark side of this situation is the party in power does not consider the feasibility and rationality of the action or promises unreasonable and impractical ways, and techniques are adopted.
This is a cause of the criminalization of politics.