Political Economy of Criminalization and Corruption

align="left">The recent election results in Maharashtra and byelections in states reinforce the disturbing trends in our political economy. In Maharashtra, India’s leading industrial state with the highest per capita income among major states, neither of the major parties have shown the vision and sense of purpose to transform the economy and governance. With political process increasingly losing its legitimacy, a one-time mafia don, Arun Gawli, and a few others with notorious record of crime, have become law-makers.

Criminalization of Politics - Cause or Consequence?

dir="ltr">With the political temperature rising in the country, the recent DP Yadav episode once again focused attention on criminalization of politics.  Why do parties admit and nominate criminals as candidates? Clearly, they perceive that the winning chances are enhanced by nominating them. The parties have not taken a vow to destroy India. They are only prepared to do whatever it takes to win the elections and once victorious, to retain power.

Politics, Crime and Corruption – Systemic Imperatives

dir="ltr">The arrest of Amarmani Tripathi, a former minister in UP, on charges of murdering Madhumita Shukla, and the unabashed defense of the accused by chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav exposed the crisis confronting our criminal justice system as never before. The behaviour of two successive governments led by bitter rivals – Mayavati and Mulayam Yadav – is identical in a criminal case involving their political colleague. Tripathi switched loyalties and joined the BSP faction which defected to Mulayam’s side.

Combating Criminalization

In response to Lok Satta’s call, a frail old man walked into our office with incriminating evidence against a prominent politician. It was deeply troubling that this old man, at the very fag end of his life had to approach Lok Satta for redressal of a grave injustice. It speaks volumes about the failing state apparatus. However, I was happy to see the old man’s determination to seek justice. There were many such persons who came forward with valuable information – some of them even braving considerable risk – about the criminal backgrounds of prospective candidates.

Collective Action – Today’s Imperative

Elections are around the corner. The debate on the leadership qualities of the political party chiefs seems to have emerged as the favorite pastime for large sections of the society. Indeed, the leaders we elect to office will to some extent shape our future. However, it is we the people who have the power to determine our destiny. Examples abound which demonstrate that people through their collective efforts have changed the course of history.

Perjury and Criminal Justice System

The acquittal of the accused in the notorious Best Bakery case has once again exposed the weakness of our criminal justice system.  Swaminathan Aiyar in these columns made a strong plea for stringent action against perjury in order to restore the sanctity of the judicial process.

Rule of law a prerequisite for prosperity

diThe recent debate on POTO helped draw our attention on failure of rule of law. Although the Supreme Court in Jayalalitha case held that rule of law is supreme, in reality our incapacity to enforce rule of law has done immense damage to our polity and has become an impediment to economic growth. Right to property, sanctity of contracts, mechanisms for peaceful resolution of disputes, public order, and a system of fair and equitable laws well-enforced are the prerequisites of economic growth. We clearly need strong measures to promote peace and order.

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