Discussion on Criminalisation of Politics
Criminalisation of Politics
The Vohra Committee Report confirmed the apprehension of millions of Indians about the nexus between criminals and politicians and the proliferation of criminal gangs under political patronage. Corruption in high places has become prevalent and in the blind pursuit for power, the result has become more important than the means. The words "Politics is the last refuge of scoundrels" has come true. Politicians no longer work for development of the nation; most seem purely motivated by personal greed and the cultivation of muscle power through hooligans.
Criminal elements thrive on anti-social activities and to keep the police at bay they need politicians, who in turn are willing to oblige them in order to use them for nefarious activities. The police and bureaucrats in turn need political patronage for decent postings and out-of-turn promotions. Thus a symbiotic relationship develops among these three. Organised crime treats the system with contempt and exploits the loopholes in law. Criminals now operate as a syndicate. Special courts and suitable modifications in the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act are required to deliver quick justice. The inability of the system to deal with hooliganism, extortion, protection rackets, gambling, breach of public peace, prostitution and drug peddling has led to the development of organised crime. This is now spreading its tentacles and engulfing society in a very menacing manner.
The police and bureaucracy are at the mercy of politicians for their survival. Therefore, the rule of the game is to toe the line of politicians. In many instances, the police and bureaucracy act as a catalyst for the nexus between politicians and criminals. Although the unholy nexus between politicians and criminals is worldwide, in other countries swift action is taken if discovered and tainted politicians are made to retire from public. In India, however, politicians seem devoid of any moral scruples and stick to their chair like glue. Even today, there are numerous instances where tainted politicians, even after being jailed, have returned to power with a huge majority, often through questionable means.
The Congress can be said to be the pioneer of criminalisation of politics. Particularly after 1977, the Indian National Congress has allowed itself to be dominated by lumpen elements. Their success at the grassroots level spurred other parties with little or no hope of coming to power and the era of criminal-politician nexus started. The political situation in India has come to such a pass that criminals have infiltrated political parties on a massive scale blurring the line between criminals and politicians and eroding public confidence. This problem is particularly manifest in Bihar and UP. How can one forget the unruly scenes in the UP Legislative Assembly, beamed throughout the world, where legislators used slippers and chairs to batter one another?
The recommendation of the National Police Commission to establish a State Security Commission should be vigorously implemented and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should be made the nodal agency for all information on organised crime. A standing Joint Parliamentary Committee on ethics in the political process should be established. All reports of links between politicians and criminal elements and all doubtful sources of finances of politicians and political parties should be referred to this Committee. Moreover, certain rules of disqualification should be laid down to thwart the entry of anti-social elements or people with police records. Ultimately, it is up to the voters to elect the right candidate. Here again, the illiteracy of the voter and the purchasing power of the candidates make a mockery of elections. Ending the political- criminal nexus will require joint efforts from every segment of society. Otherwise the problem will continue to fester. After all, what can one say about a nation . where Phoolan Devi sat in the same august Parliament where Lal Bahadur Shastri and Vallabhbhai Patel once discussed the future of the nation!