Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Let's say NO to criminals in politics!

Barack Obama is now the 44th President of the United States of America. I know, I know, you are all probably bored of Barack Obama posts - but I just had to say this....

For the past few months, we had been looking for Barack Obama in India and we have analysed all our current crop of politicians to try and find an Obama amongst us! What I feel is, instead of trying to find an Obama amongst us - we need to first get rid of criminals contesting our elections. Goofy Mumma is trying to start a campaign where in we try and ensure the likes of Sanjay Dutt and other convicted criminals are never be allowed to contest elections in India. If you believe in this, please join in, please read her article here. We can all make a difference, in our own little ways.


Leaving you with this to think about.. While, we do not have an Obama, let's, at the very least, try and get the criminals out of our political system.
- Do we want to be lead by an ex-drug addict who also happens convicted criminal?
- Do we want to be lead by people who's party MLA's kill people for party funds?
- Do we want to be lead by people who are accused of not taking action (and even supporting) in riots - be it 2002, 1984 or any other riots?
- Do we want to be lead by criminals?

While we do not have an Obama yet - who knows, if politcs stops being a 'dirty word', if politcs stops being a place for making easy money, if polititicians are made accountable - may be, just may be - we might get our own Obama.

Hope, is what Obama signifies , for me, and hope is what I have - when I say 'NO' to criminals in politics!

When it comes to holding political office - lets adopt the policy of 'Guilty until proven innocent'!


Edited to add : I am adding the link to Lok Satta - from Sagarone's comment - http://www.loksatta.org/.

Manju sent me this link - http://news.indiamart.com/news-analysis/indian-polity-crimin-10043.html
'In a blow to persons with criminal antecedents, the Election Commission has directed the Bihar Government to delete from the Electoral Rolls the names of persons against whom non-bailable arrest warrants have remained unexecuted for more than six months. About ten thousand people will lose the right to vote and the consequent right to stand for election as a result. The immediate impact of the Election Commission decision will be seen in the coming Bihar Assembly elections as many people with criminal records will not be able to take part in the polls.'

31 comments:

Sagarone said...

I believe that the LokSatta movement in Andhra Pradesh is gaining momentum and are gearing up to fight the next elections. Please check out http://www.loksatta.org
We should support such initiatives if we want to rid our political system of criminals, corruption and nepotism and seek good governance.

Smitha said...

@Sagarone - Thank you so much for that information - I will edit the main post to add this bit of info. And just got back from their website- it sure looks like they know what they are talking about.
I guess the easiest thing which all of us can do is to vote. I unfortunately cannot vote as I am right now outside India - and that is one thing I really regret!

hitch writer said...

FYI : George Bush was a convicted guy. His drunken driving tales are legendary !! infact all his texas driving records mysteriously disappeared after he became president !!!

This is just to tell you crows are black every where !!!!

Vinod_Sharma said...

It is amazing how there was little uproar when, during the debate on the Nuclear Deal, three convicted murderers, serving prison sentences, were brought specifically to Parliament to vote.

Criminals have been an integral part of India's politics for long and every party has an abundance of them.

I don't know how Sanjay Dutt's entry is a departure from that well-established practice! Had the guy got a Congress ticket - he still might - there would probably have been debates justifying his entry saying that he was actually not a criminal, poor baba just was afraid after the riots and kept some weapons for self-defence, the BJP and BSP And SP had many more criminals etc.

Yes, there has been a need for a long time to shun criminals from politics. Unfortunately, all political parties sleep with them and give then tickets because they have the 'power and influence' to win elections. And, for a few seats more, they will do anything.

Smitha said...

@Hitchwriter - Yes, George W Bush may have convictions - but that does not justify why we should also have politicians with convictions - maybe we can be better than them in that regard!

Smitha said...

@Vinod - I totally agree, with you when you say that, we have been having criminals in politics since ages. To me, it is not just Sanjay Dutt - It is what Sanjay Dutt represents! As you rightly said - 'how there was little uproar when, during the debate on the Nuclear Deal, three convicted murderers, serving prison sentences, were brought specifically to Parliament to vote' . I think, we as an electorate tend to notice just what the media shows us. I guess thats what is good about the blogosphere - where we get to know of so many things. Infact - I had no idea of what you mentioned above.
I was reading an article somewhere - have to see if I can dig it up as to how the percentages of criminals are going up instead of reducing. Which is why I feel so strongly about it. Its not just Sanjay Dutt for me - its a larger issue..

Vinod_Sharma said...

Yes Smitha, the percentage of known criminals is going up.If you add to them those who have still not been booked and those who rob this nations after they get power in a manner that will put dacoits to shame, the picture is pretty dismal indeed. Just watch what happens when the allocation of seats for the elections is done after a couple o months...

hitch writer said...

What about the people who are having criminal cases pending ???

Our judicial system is too fast unfortunately !!!

you cant deny people who are not yet proven criminals can you ???

I am not too sure how to go about this.

Yes we can put the convicts off the elections. When i say convicts, i mean people who are proven guilty by the court of law. But if the guy is not proven guilty I can't understand how we can stop him !!

Smitha said...

@Vinod, Yes it does seem quite dismal.. There must be loads of MLAs and MPs who don't even get booked - thanks to muscle power - guess it will take a lot to make everything change, but I guess every little helps!

Smitha said...

@Hitchwriter, my personal opinion is that people who have cases pending against them should be barred from contesting elections - unless they are cleared. Simply because they are running for public office and they should ideally be 'clear'.

I know the next arguement would be that -'what if people have false cases registered against them'? I think - that would be the necessary evil. Who knows, having this stipulation might force our 'lawmakers' to bring in judicial reforms so that cases are not piled up for years before a verdict comes out..

manju said...

Smitha- I found this today
http://news.indiamart.com/news-analysis/indian-polity-crimin-10043.html

In a blow to persons with criminal antecedents, the Election Commission has directed the Bihar Government to delete from the Electoral Rolls the names of persons against whom non-bailable arrest warrants have remained unexecuted for more than six months. About ten thousand people will lose the right to vote and the consequent right to stand for election as a result. The immediate impact of the Election Commission decision will be seen in the coming Bihar Assembly elections as many people with criminal records will not be able to take part in the polls.

Indian Home Maker said...

'Hope, is what Obama signifies , for me, and hope is what I have - when I say 'NO' to criminals in politics!'

Yes we can :)
For each one of us.
For our children.
And for a better India.
Brilliantly put Smitha :)

I also wrote against Sanjay Dutt today but I didn't stress on his criminal background :(

... that is why it is great that there are so many voices against any such acts and any such 'actors' :)

Indyeah said...

YEs to all of the above Smitha!yes, we need to start acting at some point ...Why not now?
If not now when?If not here then where?(forgotten who said this!:D)

And really I totally agree with that opinion of yours that guilty until proven innocent in this case ie politicians!

Be free from all legal hassles and then contest!makes sense!and if it has drawbacks well....it certainly would be better than now when one can fight elections sitting in jail isn't it?But the real problem is no party is free from it...and al these criminals/convicts/felons party hop!

but its a good suggestion...
...great post!

Solilo said...

'NO' to criminals in politics!'

As you know already with you. Hope more joins us.

We can't be always blaming the past and not do anything today. As they say better late than never. Let bloggers unite.

Ajit said...

'NO' to criminals in politics!'
as solilo says!!!!
I second that!!!!!!!!!!

vimmuuu said...

If Sanjay Dutt still has his links with Dawood, I guess this is the safest way for terrorism to enter our country now !

Goofy Mumma said...

Great post Smitha. Keep the fire going.

Smitha said...

@Manju - Thank you so much for the link - have edited the post to add it. Hope such steps make some difference in the long run.

@IHM -Thank you IHM - Will read your post - haven't had a chance to- yet. Am sure it will make a difference - if not now - eventually!

@Indyeah - Thanks! Why don't you join the campaign too. Check out Goofy Mumma's blog - I have included the link. Too tired to comment more today :(

@Solilo, Ajit - Yes -lets all say it !

@Vimmuuu - Yes - thats what makes it even more frightenning...

@GM - Thank You!

1conoclast said...

OK. I'm going to be consistent here... with my contrary approach to everything.

I agree in principle that no one with with a criminal record should be allowed to help govern the coutry, but one question that remains answering is this:

When a convicted criminal serves his sentence, he is allowed to return to normal life. He's already been punished, so any further punishment for the same crime is unlawful, if I'm not mistaken. Double Jeopardy I think it's called...?

So to deny him/her a job, a house etc. is a form a social ostracism.

Can we approach the question again with this logic in mind?

Smitha said...

@1conoclast - Thanks for being so consistent :)
Well, 'When a convicted criminal serves his sentence, he is allowed to return to normal life. He's already been punished, so any further punishment for the same crime is unlawful, if I'm not mistaken. Double Jeopardy I think it's called...?' This is my personal opinion - if I were to employ somebody and I had an option of choosing somebody with no record and somebody with a record - I would go in for someone without a record. So when it comes to politcal office - think that the responsibility that the person would hold is so much higher - so I personally, would prefer to go in with someone without a record.

Also, it could mean, that only people with good values, and a true commitment gets to hold public office - is that such a bad thing?
What do you say?

1conoclast said...

Not at all Smitha.

I agree with you. I'd be wary of hiring anyone with a record too.
But isn't that prejudice?
Like I'd be wary of hiring a gay babysitter for my son...

Isn't incarceration Atonement? Or do we prefer Unforgiven?

My purpose is as always to make myself & others think...

Smitha said...

@1conoclast - yes I agree - it would be prejudice , if you and I did it - but I really think that it comes down to just following a law - if we apply it to political position - considering the importance attached to such positions..

And I really don't have an issue with a gay babysitter for my daughter - as far as they do a good job :)

My purpose is as always to make myself & others think... -Thats always a good thing:)

1conoclast said...

The trouble is we will not be able to restrict it to one field.

For example Nick Leeson will never get a job at a bank/brokerage firm, because he must be blacklisted there. So when he gets out, who will give him a job?

Will he have to heave lumber for the rest of his life to eat?

Double Jeopardy no?

That's why we have concepts like Incarceration, Atonement, Pashchyataap, Forgiveness in the World.

I say let him stand for elections.
I say let his Karma speak.
If people vote him in, they deserve someone like him. Their Karma!

Smitha said...

@1conoclast - I think it should be possible to restrict it to public office - because of the gravity of the position.

Going by your logic - would you want somebody who had been convicted of say, manslaughter or murder, becoming the PM or the President, simply because he is now repentant. No, I think at least in public life - this restriction would be a 'good to have'. And look at our guy - Sanjay Dutt, for example - people are welcoming him with open arms!
I seriously believe, that every body who has convictions or even open cases pending against them should be barred from contesting - 'guilty until proven innocent'.

1conoclast said...

I agree with your point fully Smitha.

It's the pragmatic thing to do. Not the ideal.

Anyway, since we agree that it is possible & desirable to restrict applications to public office, no point arguing it threadbare.

Although we must be aware that we are a democracy & that our laws, rules, etc. are all subject to change, by one right/wrong vote.

New question is: Does that make democracy a double edged sword?

Smitha said...

@1conoclast - Definitely - democracy is adouble egded sword - absolutely - no question about that. Having said that - I think, it is better to have a double edged sword of democracy than be in any other kind of governance.

1conoclast said...

What? It's "Agree-Day" or what? :-D

Smitha said...

@1con - Bad day to debate, I guess:) Well I have to get off the laptop now - or I am not going on my holiday. Catch you later - and may be have a 'disagree' day :)?

1conoclast said...

Picked a sensible person for once is more like it I think! ;-D

Have fun on your holiday. Where are you going, if I am not being too intrusive?

Done deal. Although I prefer this. :-)

Smitha said...

@1conoclast - Thanks and I am going all over India(almost) - Mumbai,Bhopal, Bangalore and Wayanad. Must do a photo post prob of all the places I go to - when I get back.

1conoclast said...

You MUST!