Introducing Electoral Reforms to Reduce the
Influence of Money and Muscle Power in Politics
FAIRNESS AT PLAY
Team details :-
Broader Scope of the Problem
There are various challenges to democracy which are highlighted as follows:-
•The first challenge is lack of internal democracy within parties. All over the world there is a tendency in
political parties towards the concentration of power in one or few leaders at the top. Parties don’t keep
membership registers, don’t hold organisational meetings, and don’t conduct internal elections regularly.
Ordinary members don’t get sufficient information on what happens inside the party. They don’t have the
means or connections needed to influence the decisions. As a result the leaders assume greater power to
make decisions in the name of party. There is also a concept of booth capturing but now it is not so much
popular because of introduction of Electronic Voting Machines.
•The second challenge is that most political parties don’t practice open and transparent procedures for
their functioning, there are very few ways for an ordinary worker to rise to the top in a party. Those who
happen to be leaders are in a position of unfair advantage to favour people close to them or even their
family members. In many parties, the top positions are controlled by members of one family for e.g.
•The third challenge is about the growing role of money and muscle power in parties, especially during
elections. Since parties are focused only on winning elections, they tend to use ‘short-cuts’ to win elections.
They tend to nominate those candidates who have or can raise lots of money. Rich people and companies
who give funds to the parties tend to have influence on the policies and decisions of the party. In some
cases, parties support criminals who can win elections.
The fourth challenge is that very often the parties don’t seem to offer a meaningful choice to the voters. In
order to offer meaningful choice parties must be significantly different. For e.g. the difference between the
Labour Party and the Conservative Party in Britain is very little. They agree on more fundamental aspects
but differ only in details on how policies are to be framed and implemented. In our country too, the
differences among all the major parties on the economic policies have reduced.
• Components of Criminalization of
• 1. Muscle Power: –The influence of muscle power in Indian
politics has been a fact of life for a long time. The manner, in
which different political parties have functioned, particularly
on the eve of periodic election, involves the free use of
musclemen and Dada's to influence the attitude and conduct
of sizable sections of the electorate.
• 2. Gangsters:-The politicians are thriving today on the basis of
muscle power provided by criminals. The common people who
constitute the voters are in most cases too reluctant to take
measures that would curtail the criminal activities. Many of
politicians chose muscle power to gain vote bank in the
country, and they apply the assumption that, if we are unable
to bring faith in the community then we can generate fear or
threat to get the power in the form of election.
• 3. Money Power: – The elections to Parliament and State
Legislatures are very expensive and it is a widely accepted fact
that huge election expenditure is the root cause for corruption
in India. A candidate has to spend lakhs of rupees to get
elected and even if he gets elected, the total salary he gets
during his tenure as an MP/MLA will be meager compared to
his election expenses.
Criminalization in Electoral System
• Criminalization of Politics in
the 15th Lok Shaba at a
• Election Commission of India has recently in May 2009,
conducted general elections for 15th Lok Sabah at 543
constituencies all over India. Let us have a look at the
status of criminalization data in Indian politics.
2004 2009 INCREASE %INCREASE
128 50 22 17.2%
424 412 -17 -4%
55 72 17 30.9%
Causes of the problem
(1) Vote Bank:-
The political parties and independent candidates have astronomical expenditure for vote buying and
other illegitimate purposes through these criminals or so called gundas. A politician’s link with them
constituency provides a congenial climate to political crime. Therefore majority of the voters are
maneuverable, purchasable. Most of them are individually timid and collectively coward. To gain their
support is easier for the unscrupulous than the conscientious.
We have long witnessed criminals being wooed by political parties and given cabinet posts because
their muscle and money power fetches crucial votes. Elections are won and lost on swings of just 1% of
the vote, so parties cynically woo every possible vote bank, including those headed by accused robbers
and murderers. Legal delays ensure that the accused will die of old age before being convicted, so
parties virtuously insist that these chaps must be regarded as innocent till proved guilty.
In every election all parties without exception put up candidates with a criminal background.
Independence has taken place through a two-stage process. The first stage was the corrupting of the
institutions and the second stage was the institutionalization of corruption. As we look at the corruption
scene today, we find that we have reached this stage because the corrupting of the institutions in turn
has finally led to the institutionalization of corruption. The failure to deal with corruption has bred
contempt for the law. When there is contempt for the law and this is combined with the criminalization
of politics, corruption flourishes. India is ranked 66 out of 85 in the Corruption Perception Index 1998 by
the German non-government organization Transparency International based in Berlin. This means that
65 countries were perceived to be less corrupt than India and 19 were perceived to be more corrupt.
(3) Loop Holes In The Functioning Of Election Commission:-
The Election Commission must take adequate measures to break the nexus between the criminals and
the politicians. The forms prescribed by the Election Commission for candidates disclosing their
convictions, cases pending in courts and so on in their nomination papers is a step in the right direction
if it applied properly. Too much should not be expected, however, from these disclosures. They would
only inform people of the candidate’s history and qualifications, but not prohibit them from casting
their votes, regardless, in favour of a criminal.
For the past several general elections there has existed a gulf between the Election Commission and the
voter. Common people hardly come to know the rules made by the commission. Bridging this gap is
essential not only for rooting out undesirable elements from politics but also for the survival of our
democratic polity. This is an incremental process, the rate of success of which is directly proportional to
the increase in literacy rate in India. The electorate have made certain wrong choices in the past, but in
the future national interest should guide them in making intelligent choices.
(4) Denial Of Justice And Rule Of Law: -
Criminalization is a fact of Indian electoral politics today. The voters, political parties and the law and
order machinery of the state are all equally responsible for this. There is very little faith in India in the
efficacy of the democratic process in actually delivering good governance. This extends to accepting
criminalization of politics as a fact of life. Toothless laws against convicted criminals standing for
elections further encourage this process. Under current law, only people who have been convicted at
least on two counts be debarred from becoming candidates. This leaves the field open for charge
sheeted criminals, many of whom are habitual offenders or history-sheeters. It is mystifying indeed why
a person should be convicted on two counts to be disqualified from fighting elections. The real problem
lies in the definitions. Thus, unless a person has been convicted, he is not a criminal. Mere charge-
sheets and pending cases do not suffice as bars to being nominated to fight an election. So the law has
to be changed accordingly.
• Regstering all the voters on a website. And provide checking facilities of voter ID-Cards within the Voting
• In a study it was found that in the general Lok Sabha elections 80,000 voter ID-cards were of dead people
and 1.5 lakh were fake.
• Providing better and faster system of voting. Bringing in new Voting Machines and teaching the illiterates
how to use them.
• Starting campaigns 5 months before the Elections which educate the villagers and other voters who blindly
vote the ministers.
• Telling them about the cruel motives of the politicians so that they evolve the ability to think themselves,
whom to vote or not.
• At last encouraging the youth to vote. Making sure that every citizen of India above the age of 18 has a voter
• Strictly checking the Criminal Records (if any) of all the politicians and not letting them stand in the elections.
• If any politician is found using muscle or money power to influence the voters his candidateship should be
Disclosure of criminal
antecedents of candidates
• In its report on Proposed Election
Reforms, 2004, the Election
Commission of India recommended
that an amendment should be
made to Section 125A of the R.P.
Act, 1951 to provide for more
stringent punishment for concealing
or providing wrong information on
Form 26 of Conduct of Election
Rules, 1961 to minimum two years
imprisonment and removing the
alternative punishment of assessing
a fine upon the candidate.
Eligibility of candidates
with criminal cases
pending against them
•The Election Commission proposed in its
2004 report that Section 8 of the
Representation of the People Act, 1951
should be amended to disqualify
candidates accused of an offence
punishable by imprisonment of 5 years
or more even when trial is pending,
given that the Court has framed charges
against the person. In the report the
Commission addresses the possibility
that such a provision could be misused
in the form of motivated cases by the
ruling party. To prevent such misuse,
the Commission suggested a
compromise whereas only cases filed
prior to six months before an election
would lead to disqualification of a
candidate. In addition, the Commission
proposed that Candidates found guilty
by a Commission of Enquiry should
•To check the rot, several committees
and commissions have been appointed
for electoral reforms and to look into
the gravity of matter. It seems that
becomes a routine activity of Indian
government or we say that it is a new
trend in vogue! These committees have
suggested several measures like T.N.
Seshan in 1992 the then chief election
commissioner of India aimed at
eradicating criminalization of politics.
With the efforts of election commission
in India, now declaration of all charges
pending against a political aspirant
becomes obligatory through an affidavit
along with nomination form. There is a
limit on election spending during
campaign etc. The concept of “judicial
Activism” is also worth mentioning in
this issue. But still a lot has to be done
to stem the rot. However, law alone
cannot clean the electoral system.
Merits of Solution
• Elections must have a process which is impartial and satisfies the basic in the national standards. However, it
within the process of free and fair elections that citizen express there will through the elected representatives,
hence such leaders are expected to elected in a free and fair elections and can only to removed from the office
through the same process, therefore a person who intimidates, corrupt and threatens the citizens before or after
election becomes an enemy of democracy. Such a system will bring an end to this.
• It’s important to note that the party in power will certainly enjoy certain advantages in fields of
government resources use of existing administrative structures and use of public media in this regard such
advantages should be checked and remitted to try and ensure that all interested parties in the political
arena enjoy the same privileges.
• Finally it’s the responsibility of every voter to ensure that election is a success. Such can only be achieved
when the election process is free from barebelly intimidation and violence hence, making it transparent,
free, fair and credible election.
• Better , fair elections- Better Fair Government. Better India.
• The new technologies and voting machines will increase the budget of
• The Election Commission may not go further with this solution as of now
the depreciation in rupee is affecting the country as a whole.
• As we know that India is just an average advanced country in terms of
technology. We will risk our capital in bulding new better voting
• As these days there are professional hackers . We never know that when
and where our data base of elections and vote is hacked and modified.
• The main factor affecting this is our politicians and ministers who would
do anything to stop such changes to happen .
• They know that they could go out of power if such strict measures for
coducting elections are taken.
• It’s important to note that the party in power will certainly enjoy certain
advantages in fields of government resources use of existing
administrative structures and use of public media in this regard such
advantages should be checked and remitted to try and ensure that all
interested parties in the political arena enjoy the same privileges.
• Finally it’s the responsibility of every voter to ensure that election is a
success. Such can only be achieved when the election process is free from
barebelly intimidation and violence hence, making it transparent, free, fair
and credible election.
• To close-up being an Indian citizen which is soon going to under go a
process of national election its my wish and great desire to see my county
being a model of a county with free and fair elections.
The Indian Polity.