DailyPost 2077

Every political party has an ideology or it is supposed to have one. This is the raison d’etre of their existence. In the democratic fold, within the perimeters of the well-established constitutional framework, what political differentiation can the parties provide? From the so- called left to the so- called right and beyond, is what their skin is supposed to look like. Democratic operations and processes remain the same. With the passage of time even the superficial differences seem to be getting wiped out and there is an unhealthy practice of ”revolving doors” which the politicians use for moving from one party or the other, for a variety of reasons. As long as the politician remains with the party he has all the proclaimed credentials and as soon as the party and politician break up, he loses all these virtues.

Professional career prospects are also cited at times as a reason for the shifting party affiliation. At times it happens to make a government or to make it fall. The simple reality of Indian political life is that political affiliations keep on changing and very rarely, if any for purposes of ideology. As criminal cases are interwoven in the tapestry of Indian political life, and the criminal justice system can make or mar a politician at different stages, more so if it happens to be the final conviction. Even earlier, it might make your life difficult, getting you into endless rigmarole of police, courts and if you are unlucky to hit police custody and prisons for a variety of reasons. Even if the shame part is completely lost, the criminals cases leave you with very little time for political manoeuvring.

In the shifting political sands which happen in Indian politics, if you are on to the wrong side of the political divide, politicians want to steer clear as much they can. But given the nature of job description they have created for themselves, it is not at all difficult for them to get entangled in criminal cases, mostly of their doing and some which are foisted on them, for being in opposition to the powers that be, at that moment in time. From electioneering to protests, many a times ending in violence to opportunities of corruption emanating out of variety of their roles, the transition to getting embroiled or implicated is huge. The short circuiting procurement rules, ever in need of money for the vastly expanding political activities, money laundering to hide the ill-gotten wealth, to political murders, et al, there might be a day where we are able to assign a few sections of the Indian Penal Code to each of the activities.

The reality is that a fairly large percentage of politicians are named as accused in criminal cases, which are in different stages of investigation and trial. There can also be multiplicity of cases against one politician and at times multiplicity of agencies, which can make the situation dire. The powers that be can make a difference, in the registration of a case, the application of sections of law, which investigative agency would investigate, the pace of investigation, to arrest or not arrest, and what not. The criminal justice system today has the strength to come down heavily when you are booked. To save oneself it is very likely that one will change his political affiliation and preferences and it happens on a regular basis. It can also happen to ward off the likelihood of getting embroiled in a criminal case. Life can be difficult if the sections of law and the investigative agency puts its best foot forward. If provided some chances of easy life, the political opponents tone down their opposition, for that favour. Criminal cases and political affiliations are strange bedfellows.

Sanjay Sahay

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