Reading this article was probably a shock but nevertheless a known fact across India. There is a common belief in Indian people that unless you have a criminal history, you can not be a success in the politics and apparently the article on Rediff further proves the belief. Its a matter of a real shame that the future of the country is decided by criminals sitting in the parliament rather than intellectuals and thinkers !
Nevertheless, as I said earlier, politics is not considered as a career in India by a common man. Its an obvious option for goons, goondas & criminals to assert themselves as public leaders. Most of the politicians are either representatives of a cast, have a potential vote bank and mostly uneducated to lead the country, leave alone the community.
To increase the awareness about the candidates and current state of criminal charges on the parliament members, a public interest foundation has set up a website informing people about the facts about their representatives in parliament. You can visit the site at http://www.nocriminals.org. These guys also have a blog on http://nocriminals.wordpress.com/.
This is a really bold move to make this information open to people in India and probably a need of time to increase the social awareness and most importantly a need to change !
The website mentions the following about the campaign,
The recent Mumbai attacks have once again highlighted the need for individuals with a high level of personal integrity to provide effective leadership for our country. It is well known that across party lines, a number of individuals with criminal antecedents are given tickets to contest elections. There is little public pressure on political parties to not give tickets to such individuals. In 2004, about 20% of those who were elected to Parliament had criminal antecedents. This problem is prevalent across most political parties. This tears into the moral fabric of the country and has an impact on governance.
This website does mention some interesting facts about the most ‘tainted’ states in India in terms of percentage of criminal MPs in the parliament. Most notably being the ranking of Maharashtra state (considered prosperous & more developed) above states like Uttar Pradesh & Bihar (considered less prosperous & with high crime rate). On a positive point, its good to see that the state like Asam having 100% clean record in terms of having good MPs representing themselves within the Parliament.
I am unsure of how things will turn out in the upcoming general elections in India, however one thing for sure is that the people in India have started to speak out in right direction, hopefully this is the first step in making India a great country again.