Thursday, May 14, 2009

Elections 2009: A Journey so far

Our Leaders

You must have read about the news piece where our Prime Minister Mr. Singh referred to independent candidates as "spoilers", urging voters in Mumbai not to vote them because they cannot win. Can we call this statement Democratic? Does anybody has a right to question someone’s candidature if it’s allowed by the law?
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi called the Congress, "budhia" (old woman) and later "gudia" (doll). BJP prime ministerial candidate L K Advani has been constantly attacking the PM as "weak" and Singh has responded with equally un-intellectual statements. Varun Gandhi's now-infamous speech was a low in this year’s election so was the RJD chief Lalu Yadav's response. Then we had Samajwadi Party’s manifesto creating news for wrong reasons.
Is it really impossible for our leaders to behave responsible and have meaningful debate? Why our prominent leaders fail to use their speeches to address the burning issues instead use merely for an entertainment purpose? Will this election give us leaders who can take India confidently to next height? We still have to wait and see.

Law breakers as law makers

Women MPs, MLAs too have criminal records: The study by the Independent Research Initiative suggests that women leaders don't lag behind when it comes to having criminal records or amassing wealth. Kerala (83%), Bihar(25%) and Chhattisgarh(25%), Madhya Pradesh (22%), Karnataka (20%), Tamil Nadu (19%), Haryana and Orissa (18%), Maharashtra and Punjab (17%), Uttar Pradesh (13%), Andhra Pradesh (8%) and West Bengal (6%). are the states with the highest percentage of women legislators.
However, in 11 states, women legislators do not have any kind of criminal record. The states are Assam, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand. On the whole, about 13 percent of women legislators in states and 14 percent of women MPs in the 14th Lok Sabha had criminal records.
(Source: study by PRS Legislative Research based on affidavits filed by candidates with the Election Commission up to 2007)

My belief is people are really desperate for a positive change and a cleaner political scenario. With the statistics like the one shown above, it does not look that we are moving towards right direction. Does this mean that we trust criminals and expect them to work for the society? What can we do as a citizen to stop this? If people promise not to vote for criminals, then with time even political parties will stop fielding them.

--- Swapnil Saurav
This article was originally written on 30 April 2009 for 5th Dimension- http://sites.google.com/a/spjimr.org/thefifthdimension/elections-2009-a-journey-so-far

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