DailyPost 1841

From the tirade against the political parties, for the first time, by a publicly known Chief Election Commissioner, T N Seshan to recent remarks by a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, in the Suo moto cognizance of Lakhimpur Kheri violence,  what has been the common tenor of our political system? Criminality in a wide and varied ways. Money and muscle power was the name of the game of election politics and Seshan, put in his might and that of the Election Commission to make a monumental difference to the election process of the country. Today Bahubali’s rule the roost. What has finally come out of it, as we stand today at the crossroads of democracy and criminality, as in the instant case, gripping the nation? More than criminality itself, its acceptability and condonation of criminal behavior,  is adding fuel to the fire.

Dance of Indian democracy leaving aside the wide world outside, has shown its venom again and again in Indian legislatures, each recent incident beating the earlier one. In totality, in the arena which has been created for serious discussions leading to enactment of laws, theaters of  scenes that do not bring glory to either the law makers, legislature, democracy and the country. Vengeance and vendetta cannot be democratic politics, but this is where we have brought our politics to. Our legislatures are still shy away from having a debate on the status of members having criminal records, the increase in assets since getting into legislatures and the business links of people’s representatives. Every legislature session should have sufficient portion to time mandatorily allotted to discuss the investigation and trial progress of the cases registered against its members.

Suffice to say, once you are an elected representative, it becomes much more difficult, even with evidence on record for the investigative agencies to book you or book you for all sections as legally warranted or complete investigation in the shortest possible time. Any laxity in any of these has its own repercussions and adds to the might / influence and weight of the concerned politician. Sometimes run of the mill prohibitions, mostly liquor, means a fast buck to all concerned. The political constituency over a period of time has also become an administrative jurisdiction of the elected representative. He  either becomes the decision maker or gains enough clout to influence decisions. This influence crosses into the criminal investigation process as well.

Managing majority in the legislature to enable government formation, breaking it, creating new workable alignments, as the popular perception is, does not happen for free. The five star jamborees, chartered flights, though never investigated, would have its own story. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha bribery case can give enough of a peep into this aspect of Indian democracy. On the political side, the recent violence in a state post elections and on the economic offences side we have a former Finance Minister and his son going through the judicial process. One ex. state home minister is supposedly on the run. Sand mining, iron ore mining and mining opportunities have been the favorite hunting grounds, to register a few cases and force a few through the judicial process, under duress, is not going to bring any change. Hoodwinking cannot be a lifelong game. It spells peril to our nation. This is the biggest challenge to our democratic DNA.


Sanjay Sahay 

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