Lok Sabha elections are currently going on and the main issue that has grabbed the headlines in the last couple of weeks is the entry of criminals in Indian politics. To give you an idea of how bad the situation is, around 1,200 candidates from various political parties have criminal charges against them starting from rape to murders.
Criminals and Country’s Progress
Earlier we knew that politicians made use of criminals but now it has changed and criminals themselves are entering politics. Still there are political parties and politicians who use criminals for intimidating their rivals and winning the elections. The country and its politicians as yet have not been able to weed out the criminals from political ranks which is a major reason for country’s stifled progress rate.
Laws and Their Use
In India, there is law that prevents someone from taking part in elections after he or she is convicted in a crime by the court. However, such conviction takes years or decades, and during this period, the person completes several tenures in the government. The election commission is taking every possible step to conduct the elections in a peaceful manner this time so that voters can cast their votes for the right person.
Political Parties and Criminals
Most of the political parties have candidates with criminal records, as for instance in Uttar Pradesh Atiq Ahmed is a candidate of SP with cases against him ranging from extortion to murder. Similarly, Keshav Maurya is BJP candidate who is also facing murder charges against him. Another example is Jitendra Kumar of BSP with 17 criminal charges and of these 17; attempted murder is also one of the charges.
Statistics from Previous Elections
Such criminals are not only contesting in the Lok Sabha elections, but in state level polls as well. If we look at statistics, in these elections around 17% have criminal background, which in 2009 was at 15%, so the percentage is increasing instead of going down. From 2003, it is mandatory for political parties to disclose details about candidates and it is listed on website of election commission. From 2003, it has been noticed that politician with criminal charges against them have taken part in various polls and percentage wise their numbers stand at around 8%.
If we look at combined data for the last two elections then we will find that percentage of total candidates with at least 1 criminal charge was at 18%. Additionally, chances of win were at 23% for a candidate with criminal background as against 12% of a politician with clean background.
Thus, we can clearly see that criminals are becoming part of our political structure and even more surprising are the facts according to which criminals have higher chances of winning in elections. May be this is the reason political parties field more criminals than ordinary politicians.