COME election season and very interesting facts come to the fore in the form of declarations the candidates file while submitting their nomination papers. A report compiled by an NGO, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections reveals that, a whopping 83 pc of the sitting MPs of Lok Sabha are crorepatis while 33 pc of them have criminal cases pending against them. While these cases may go on for ages in the courts without conclusion, those with political clout, muscle and money power can still continue to enjoy the fruits of power that come with the membership of Parliament. But the dominance of crorepatis in the Lok Sabha means two things: One, that those with money power only have the chance of becoming members of Parliament; and second, in this scenario, those without financial muscle have least possibility of entering the august precincts of Parliament. Obviously elections have become so prohibitively expensive that a common man cannot even dream of entering the electoral fray let alone the Parliament.
BELOW THE BELT
POLL campaigns always act as a true examination of a candidate’s character and intent. For, electioneering demands a narrative that must pass the test of decorum and decency while wooing voters. As campaigning for the Lok Sabha gains pace all over the country, reports coming from Uttar Pradesh present a disturbing trend of some political leaders resorting to personal attacks on their poll adversaries. When the country seeks an informed discourse from its leaders, this cantankerousness and below the belt tactics used to malign political opponents dent the very basic fabric of our democracy. Some uncouth elements do not find it wrong to indulge in throwing colloquial sneers as well as disdain for female anatomy. This is a dirty underbelly of Indian politics and it has to be strictly condemned. At no point of time a political leader should cross the line of decency even if it is to criticise an electoral rival. Yielding to the gallery’s desire and resorting to invective indicate a low level of politics. It has to be shamed and shunned.