Reducing the influence of money and muscle
power in politics
1.Tarun Narayan Bhardwaj 2.Kashish Goyal 3. Deepak Singh
4.Ankit Kumar Singh 5. Himanshu Rana
Elections are foundation stone of any democracy. As the democracies in the
modern times are mainly representative in character, they are shaped by the
method of election. India has adopted the representative system of democracy
Criminalization of politics has led to immense pressure on functioning of political
institution. The worst part of picture is that “criminal record” becomes an essential
qualification for entry into politics. In India Politics is not a social service anymore,
instead it emerged as a lucrative profession or business. Today it is used to believe
that crime is the shortest access to legislature and parliament of India.
The way our legislatures, Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and State
assemblies, function does not make us proud. One of the major
causes for the unruly and unproductive functioning of the legislatures
is the quality of people who find their way into the legislatures. For
example it was reported in the media that more than half of the MLAs
elected to the current state assembly of Uttar Pradesh had significant
(i) Since parties are focussed only on winning elections, they tend to use short-cuts
to win elections.
(ii) They tend to nominate those candidates who have or can raise lots of money.
(iii) Rich people and companies who give funds to the parties tend to have influence
on the policies and decisions of the party.
(iv) In some cases, parties support criminals who can win elections.
(v) Democrats all over the world are worried about the increasing role of rich
people and big companies in democratic politics.
India's political parties have an array of potential candidates to choose from, so one
wonders why they choose candidates with criminal records. Money is clearly one
major consideration. It is no secret that elections in India have grown increasingly
expensive. Because parties need resources to fund activities such as campaigning,
voter mobilisation and vote buying, they place a premium on selecting self-
financing candidates who won't be a drain on finite party coffers. Candidates linked
to criminal activity are attractive in this regard. If one looks at the assets of the
more than 45,000 candidates who contested state elections between 2003 and
2009, the median “clean” candidate has a personal wealth of roughly Rs 400,000,
compared to assets of Rs 1.1 million for the median indicted candidate. Parties
place a premium on criminality (i.e., muscle), in part, because it often brings with it
the added benefit of money.
Money power of minister
1. Average asset value of an MP rose from Rs. 1.86 crores in 2004 to Rs. 5.33 crores in 2009, a 186%
2. 302 MPs, who were elected in 2004, contested for re-election in 2009. Their average asset value in 2004
was Rs. 1.92 cr. and in 2009 was Rs. 4.8 cr., an increase of Rs. 2.9 cr, or 289%, which comes to an annual ROI
of 60%. Clearly, politics is the best investment in India.
Muscle power of minister
1. The number of LS members in 2009 with serious pending criminal cases is 76 out of 543, or 14%, an
increase of 31% over the 58 members in 2004.
2. The number of Lok Sabha members of the 2009 House with pending criminal cases against them is a
whopping 162 out of 543, or nearly 30% of the entire house. This is an increase of nearly 27% from the
corresponding number (128) in 2004.
Percentages of State MPs Facing Serious Criminal Charges (LS 2009)
The transparency in the government machinery is the basic requirement to combat
corruption. The Right to Information Act (RTI) should be further fine tuned and
stringent punishment should be given to the government officials who do not
provide the information sought by the citizens under RTI Act. Huge campaign should
be made amongst the citizens to encourage them to seek information under RTI Act
from the government whenever needed by them without any sense of fear,to ensure
transparency in the government dealings.
The suggestion of Rajaji that the President’s rule should be imposed before the general
elections should be accepted and implemented to ensure fair elections, even if it would
require an amendment to the constitution. Ensuring that the politicians would not be in
power at the time of conducting the general elections would go a long way in conducting
fair elections in the country.
The negative vote (not voting for anybody) should be accepted by
the government and implemented and if any Parliamentary Act
would be required for this, it should be ensured.
Citizens should have the liberty to reject all the candidates if they
would feel like this and this should be considered as their
fundamental right in a democratic society.
A special permanent court must be constituted to look into all issues
relating to elections at the state and central level , which should be a
fast track court, which would have the authority to ban criminals and
dishonest people from contesting in the elections.
IT / Media
Coordination among the different
1. Police should co-operate with the chief
electoral officer .
2. All the data regarding the candidates
should be provided to the election
commission before the elections.
3. The data which is provided to the
election commission should be given to
the mass media so as to create
awareness among the people .
4. If the candidate have criminal charges
election commission can report a file
over it and cancel their opportunity
unless they get clearance from the fast
5. Advisory committee must be consist of
benches of retired personals of various
posts which will have the data and have
the power to investigate the working of
the candidate any time and give reports
of the working progress to the election
No MLA or M P should be permitted to contest in elections more than
two times . The American law that no one can become President more
than two times is a commendable step and similar regulations should
be followed in India also.
To curb vested family interests which often result in money power and
muscle power, more than three blood relatives(from the same family)
should not be allowed to contest from the same party.
Election Commission should also consider out of box ideas like
online elections for allowing voters to vote online. This would not
only ensure greater participation but would also ensure fearless
voting , especially in terrorist dominated and violence prone
While educational qualifications need not be insisted for the
candidates contesting elections, they should be asked to undergo a
knowledge test by election commission. This would ensure that
ignorant people who have only money power and muscle power do
not enter the fray and win elections.
The cost of election campaign should be brought down by
encouraging campaign through print and visual media in the form of
advertisements , for which concessional charge should be fixed by
the government and part of the expenses should be subsidized by
Maximum number of public meetings that can be conducted in each
constituency by each party should be fixed and processions and
posters should be banned. Anybody violating these regulations
should be barred immediately for life from contesting elections.
It is necessary that the Election Commissioners and State Electoral Officers should
interact with the people belonging to lower income group living in rural areas
(majority of the votes come from them and they are gullible) every month as a
matter of priority, to educate them that selling their votes would cause both the
country and their personal welfare dearly in the long run.
1. Whole process requires
more time to pass the
desired bill in the
2. The upper class groups
doesn’t show any interest
because they are busy in
3. Funding from the
government should not
4. Poor and illiterate people
will give to those who
provide them money .
Challenges on implementation
1. Providing awareness among people
required huge media efforts .
2. Poverty should not be removed quickly.
3. Making coordination among people
,media election commission will be
www.leftbrainwave.com for MP facing criminal charges
All India Progressive Forum www.progressiveforum.in
Proposed electoral reforms by Election commission of india