Crime And Politics in India
Category: Law and Public Policy
Criminalization of politics is one of the major problems facing India. There has been an increase in the number of politicians with criminal backgrounds who have been elected as legislative representatives in the past few decades. This raises the question as to why Indians elect criminal politicians. The causes of crime in India are classified into social, economic, political, geographic, mental and psychological, and biological. Criminalization of politics in India takes many forms, and include electoral fraud, political candidates with criminal backgrounds contesting elections, use of muscle power in mobilizing voters, political scams, bureaucratic scams, and politicians protecting criminal gangs. Some of the causes of criminalization of politics in India include political control of the police, state money, corruption, weak laws and abuse of discretion, lack of intraparty democracy transparency, lack of ethics or values, vote bank politics, and loopholes in the functioning of the Election Commission. Ignorance due to illiteracy is prevalent as approximately 25% of the population are illiterate. Ethnic identity is the most important factor in Indian politics. Ethnic identity includes caste, religion, and language. Competition over local dominance among various social groups is one of the major factors that makes Indian voters elect politicians with a criminal history. Most of the media houses have their political affiliations, and they continue to indulge in perception mapping of public. Indian voters elect criminals due to the perceived benefits they would receive from them since the politicians would have huge discretionary powers over the implementation of policies that facilitate the distribution of benefits to the public. Indian voters also vote for politicians with a criminal record due to being coerced. Candidates with criminal links provide the electorate with a form of social insurance. The ability of candidates with criminal links to provide platforms that facilitate dispute resolutions is also one of the factors that make Indian voters choose politicians with criminal links. Having a weak rule of law in India is the major factor that has led to the thriving of the alternative forms of dispute resolution. The election of candidates with a criminal record has several impacts. It leads to an increase in the level of political control of the police. The criminal politicians can use the police to achieve their personal goals. The governance delivered by the criminal politicians may contradict the prevailing principles of good governance in a democratic system. For instance, they may engage in practices that favor certain groups within the society to the detriment of other groups. Politicians with a criminal background create negative economic impacts. These politicians can use their discretionary powers in the allocation of public resources to the state-controlled corporations to engage in corrupt activities that enrich them or their benefactors. Therefore, they may embezzle public resources or allocate the public resources to private parties for their refinement or development, which would have a negative impact on the welfare of the residents of the region. Criminal politicians can also treat public resources as their personal assets and use them to engage in various criminal activities. It would lead to the breakdown of the rule of law since the politicians would support criminal activities conducted by their cronies. This may lead to the proliferation of criminal organization, which would be a threat to peace and security and also lead to the loss of public faith in the credibility of the judiciary. The situation is alarming and needs to be controlled before it goes out of hand and threatens the future social economic development of the country. These are the major issues that are discussed in this book.