Many Politicians in India Campaign While Facing Criminal Charges


From The Epoch Times:

More than 1,200 candidates running for 545 seats in the [India] national election face criminal charges including rape, kidnapping, extortion and murder, according to a tally by the Association for Democratic Reform.

Criminalization of politics is a bad trend. Earlier politicians used criminals. Now the criminals themselves have entered politics,” said Rituraj Sharma, a 21-year-old first-time voter. [Kinda reminds me of some areas of the city.]

In much of India, violence and politics go hand in hand. Political parties use local strongmen to intimidate political rivals. Ahmed, who denies all the charges and calls them politically motivated, is just one of hundreds of Indian politicians who activists say operate at the crossroads of crime and politics.

While not unique to India, it stifles progress for the country of 1.2 billion people to have a political class unable, or unwilling, to root out criminals and keeping out idealistic aspirants.

Indian law only bars a person from running for political office once they have been convicted by a court and that can take years, even decades, as cases wind their way through woefully overburdened courts.

Fearing violence because of the candidates’ backgrounds, the state election commission has declared 10 of the 15 constituencies “red constituencies” and will take extraordinary measures to ensure that the vote is peaceful, said Uttar Pradesh’s chief electoral officer, Umesh Sinha.

“We deploy additional security forces with the candidates having criminal records. The gangs these politicians are associated with are well known and police will keep an eye on the members of these gangs,” Sinha said.

All licensed weapons across the polling area are confiscated and petty criminals on the police’s radar are protectively detained.

http://m.theepochtimes.com/n3/660382-many-politicians-in-india-campaign-while-facing-criminal-charges/

So before ya’ll get all high and mighty, please remember the turbulent political battles of the ’70s in the South Bronx, El Barrio, Harlem, etc. I heard the stories about intimidation, gunplay, hidden razors, and bloodied campaign volunteers. These tales of electoral violence date back to the 1850s in New York City.

My point in flagging this article isn’t to point fingers at India but to look at the three fingers pointing back at us. Political corruption and plain criminality continue to exist among some of those elected to public office in communities across our City and State. If you want it to stop, you must make them feel unwanted and unsupported in their various excuses for their inexcusable conduct.

An expanded and vigorous voting public will discourage the boodlers, husksters, thieves and klepticians from seeking public office. Reform begins with you. Use the power of your VOTE.

Michael Benjamin

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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