Criminals in U.P. Politics

The Present Election Commission's suggestion to the political parties, that those against whom charge-sheets had been filed should not be allowed to contest, has been rejected by a parliamentary standing committee.
By: Dipayan Mazumdar and Associates
May 9, 2007 - PRLog -- Perhaps it is wrong to single out Uttar Pradesh when criminals are sprinkled all over the country's politics. The sole reason for such concentrated attention on this large, and many feel unwieldy State whose population is more than Russia and Australia put together, are the constant reports about the large number of criminals contesting the Assembly poll.

Of course, if you were to believe Amitabh Bacchan, who frequently told television audiences in his compelling voice, that U.P. is the most peaceful State as compared to other States. And if people took it with loads of salt it is understandable considering his close association with the ruling party in the State led by Mulayam Singh Yadav on the one hand, and the notorious characters who adorn the candidates' list. Then again, one might turn around and say this is an old phenomenon. But this election has some additional features; one of them being that the number of those with criminal records contesting the poll is larger than the previous elections.

The Uttar Pradesh Election Watch, an independent election-monitoring organisation, of which the former State Director General of Police, I. C. Dwivedi, is the convenor, has noted that all the major political parties have a certain number of hopeful entrants to the Assembly with criminal backgrounds. Quite a few have a long list of crime appended to their names, like murder, dacoity and extortion. What about the tall promises made by all the political outfits at the time of releasing their manifestos that they would not touch those with a criminal past with a pair of tongs? They have gone down the drain like all other promises they usually mouth before the elections. The people have come to treat these assurances with casual nonchalance. They know that the politicians almost always do not mean what they say.

The Election Watch, going through the affidavits submitted by the candidates before the Election authority, has found that all the parties are culprits. The Samajwadi Party leads with roughly 35% of its candidates facing many charge–sheets, followed by Bahujan Samaj Party with 32 per cent, the BJP has about 30 percent and the Congress 20.

Dons and gangsters are campaigning vigorously for themselves or others. In at least one case a dreaded dacoit is supporting a Bahujan Samajwadi Party candidate. In most of these cases such criminals get elected into legislature. Which makes one wonder how or why should people vote for such known bad characters? The obvious answer, fear, is brushed aside by a Member of Parliament also on the campaign trail for his party's candidate. Himself facing at least 20 cases of murder and attempt to murder, he says, without batting an eyelid, "they vote us because they love us".

At least three men absconding from the police have surfaced to contest. And those MLAs, who had to resign their seats because they were caught on camera by a television channel taking bribes for various nefarious acts, including one for smuggling drugs, have brazenly come out to test their popularity in the Assembly poll.

In all this murky scene, one is forced to admire the bold initiative of a new party in the U P political mine, the Bharat Punarnirman Dal, a handful of middle-class youth educated in some of the top institutions in the country but voicing the despair of the helpless majority. One of the founder-members of the party is Omendra Pratap Singh, a post-graduate from IIT, Kanpur. "Just as we had the movement for independence and the green revolution for food security, we need a political revolution to clean up politics" he says.

The Present Election Commission's suggestion to the political parties, that those against whom charge-sheets had been filed should not be allowed to contest, has been rejected by a parliamentary standing committee.

If politicians do not want to eliminate criminalization in politics, nothing could be done. The way the disease is spreading very soon it may be too late to do anything under a democratic set-up.

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Tags:up, Criminals, Election, Election Commision, Government, Samajwadi Party, Mla
Location:New Delhi - Delhi - India
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