A New Delhi-based study found that 129 of the 796 candidates (16 per cent) in the poll fray have criminal cases slapped against them.
And if the nation of a billion-plus mostly poor people is serious about salvaging its standing, it needs to promise itself a clean administration. For this, a clean, nay a squeaky clean, team of ministers is the most important, the most basic need.
But, going by the cavaliar attitude of some political parties, an honest and dedicated government seems like a mirage in the desert of scams and scandals.
The president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi, has re-nominated eight sitting members of parliament, including former Union ministers T R Baalu, Dayanidhi Maran, A Raja, S Jagathrakshakan and S Gandhiselvan, for the elections.
Both Raja and Maran have been charged with one political misdemeanour or the other. Raja is an accused in the 2G spectrum scam, while Maran reportedly allotted high-speed telephone lines illegally to his brother’s television channel, Sun TV.
The Congress Party has nominated the former Railway Minister, Pawan Kumar Bhansal, for the Chandigarh (in north India) seat. The party said that Bhansal was not tainted, as was being alleged.
Meanwhile, charges have been framed against Bhansal’s nephew, Vijay Singla, and nine others, who were arrested in the Rs 10-crore bribery case when Bhansal was the Railway Minister. Singla is supposed to have taken huge sums of money promising jobs in the railways.
And, even while Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of Times Now, a television channel, urged voters, particularly the 100 million new ones this time, in his Thursday night 9 pm telecast to stop tainted political candidates from coming to power, the young anti-corruption organisation, Aam Aadmi Party of Arvind Kejriwal, plans to fight this evil in its own way.
The party will field at least 73 of its men and women in those constituencies where the other parties are putting up candidates facing serious criminal charges.
“The most important thing is that there are a large number of cabinet ministers who have indulged in scams, and they need to be defeated,” Kejriwal said.
“There are nearly 162 people in the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) who have criminal indictments against them, and 73 out of them have serious arraignments against them. They need to be defeated, and we will put up strong candidates against them,” added Kejriwal.
On Tuesday, a New Delhi-based study found that 129 of the 796 candidates (16 per cent) in the poll fray have criminal cases slapped against them. Of these, 93 are serious offences, like murder, rape and dacoity.
Gautaman Bhaskaran is India Editor of FMT, and Chennai-based author, columnist and movie critic. He may be emailed at[email protected]