Indian General Election 2019, beware of politicians bearing gifts – Mark Ulyseas
Ulyseas has served time in advertising as copywriter and creative director selling people things they didn’t need, a ghost writer for some years, columnist of a newspaper, a freelance journalist and photographer. In 2009 he created Live Encounters Magazine, in Bali, Indonesia. It is a not for profit (adfree) free online magazine featuring leading academics, writers, poets, activists of all hues etc. from around the world. March 2016 saw the launch of its sister publication Live Encounters Poetry, which was relaunched as Live Encounters Poetry & Writing in March 2017. He has edited, designed and produced all of Live Encounters’ 142 publications till date (January 2019). Mark’s philosophy is that knowledge must be free and shared freely (without charge) to empower all towards enlightenment. He is the author of three books: RAINY – My friend & Philosopher, Seductive Avatars of Maya – Anthology of Dystopian Lives and In Gethsemane: Transcripts of a Journey. www.amazon.com
Come April-May 2019 India will be in the throes of general and state elections when over 800 million Indians are eligible to vote, nearly 50% being women voters. Here is a reality check for voters. I shall begin with news reports that expose the criminality in Indian politics.
The Times of India, dtd. 12th March 2018. LINK
The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that 1,765 MPs and MLAs are facing criminal trial in 3,045 cases. The total strength of lawmakers in Parliament and assemblies is 4,896. The highest number of cases against lawmakers is in Uttar Pradesh followed by Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
India Today, dtd. 19th April 2018. LINK
– In 5 years, recognized parties have given tickets to 26 candidates with rape cases.
– 327 candidates with cases of crime against women were from the Bahugan Samaj Party.
– Among the major parties in the last 5 years, 47 candidates with declared cases of crimes against women were given tickets by the Bhartiya Janata Party.
– The second highest number of candidates, 35, were given tickets by Bahugan Samaj Party followed by 24 candidates from Indian National Congress (INC) who had contested Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and state Assembly elections.
– Even leaders who have heinous crime charges against them were preferred for tickets. The ADR study says that in the last 5 years, recognized parties have given tickets to 26 candidates who had declared cases related to rape. Head of ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms), Major General Anil Verma (retd) told India Today TV that the winning stroke of a candidate seems to be the sole criteria for political parties and they don’t care about credentials of these candidates.
The Hindustan Times, dtd. 25th September 2018. LINK
The Supreme Court has declined to ban politicians with criminal cases from contesting elections but underlined that it is time Parliament enacts laws to ensure that people with criminal cases do not enter politics. “The sooner the better, before it becomes fatal to democracy,” a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said.
NDTV, dtd. 11th October 2018. LINK
The Election Commission on Wednesday made it compulsory for candidates contesting polls to advertise their criminal antecedents in TV and newspapers at least three times during electioneering. According to directions issued on Wednesday, political parties too will have to give publicity to the criminal records of candidates fielded by them.
The Hindustan Times, dtd. 28th November 2018. LINK
There are more than 750 candidates out of the 2,716 nominees from various parties with criminal cases are contesting the assembly election in Madhya Pradesh this year, an analysis of the affidavits filed by them has shown.
Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an NGO that works for electoral and political reforms, and Madhya Pradesh Election Watch have said in a report that 464 candidates or 17% have declared criminal cases against them and 295 or 11% serious criminal cases.
The Economic Times, dtd. 4th December 2018. LINK
There are 4,122 criminal cases pending, some for over three decades, against sitting and former members of Parliament and legislative assemblies, the Supreme Court was told Tuesday. The apex court was informed that out of the 4,122 cases 2,324 are against sitting MPs and MLAs while 1,675 are against former lawmakers.
India Today, dtd. 5th December 2018. LINK
– The Rajasthan Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the affidavits of 2,188 out of the 2,294 candidates, who are contesting in the Rajasthan assembly election. Out of a total of 2,188 candidates analysed, 608 are from national parties, 209 are from state parties, 584 are from registered unrecognised parties and 787 candidates are contesting independently.
– Out of all the 2,188 candidates analysed, 320 (15%) candidates have criminal cases against them. In Rajasthan assembly election of 2013, out of 2,030 candidates, 224 (11%) had declared criminal cases against themselves. While 195 (9%) have declared serious criminal cases this time, in 2013 Rajasthan assembly election, the number was 140 (7%).
– Four candidates have cases related to murder, 25 candidates have cases related to attempt to murder, 11 candidates have cases related to kidnapping and 16 candidates have cases related to crime against women.
– Among the parties, 33 (17%) out of 198 candidates analysed from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 43 (22%) out of 193 candidates analysed from the Indian National Congress (INC), 26 (18%) out of 141 candidates analysed from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and 31 (17%) out of 178 candidates analysed from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have criminal cases against them in their affidavits.
– Congress has highest number of candidates with criminal or serious criminal cases against them.
– Second, third and fourth highest are candidates from BJP, BSP and AAP respectively.
– Out of a total of 2,188 candidates, 597 (27%) are multimillionaires.
It would appear that religion has replaced all other forms of enticement to lure voters. The ostentatious religious rituals being performed by and on politicians who project themselves as being secular only confirms the desperation to be elected to power any which way.
Secular being the new mantra for anti-Hindu and anti-Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Hindu bashing is the in thing. Anyone with a tilak on the forehead is a right wing Hindu, and anyone with a taqiyah cap praying in public is a Muslim fundamentalist, and any practising Christian is viewed as someone who is out to convert all to Christianity. .
The now generation, which is caught in the web of anti-social media has been seduced by the nauseating political correctness seeping through the ether from the West. A genuine discourse between faiths is fast becoming – either you are with me or against me. A genuine dialogue on contentious issues facing the country is often reduced to shouting matches, threats, sometimes violence and murder.
Certain journalists have become the oracles of ‘truth’ and ‘post-truth’, and others the epitome of disinformation. The few that remain true to their profession have become the unwitting pall bearers of democracy on the way to the Shamshan Ghat.
There are hundreds of millions of faithful in this great country who have lived cheek by jowl for centuries through invasions, occupations and the bloody Partition. The politicians at that time were more concerned about the State, its welfare and security rather than the spoils of crime and the misuse of religion for power.
Sadly, those times are in the past. And as L.P. Hartley says ‘The Past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.’
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected the English speaking brown sahibs and memsahibs in politics, media and society were appalled by the rise of a man with a chaiwalla background, who probably wouldn’t have been allowed into any Gymkhana in his kurta pyjama. The elitist attitude of the political vanquished was self-evident in its snobbery. They have done their very best to cut the ground from under his feet, of course with a little bit of help from some of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s own party members with their intemperate remarks.
The massive display of farmers’ ire about suicides related to debts totalling around US$40 billion would appear that it is the present government’s fault when actually these debts mounted up during the reign of previous governments, over decades. But those desperate for power have glossed over this fact and one leader has grandly announced that he would waive the farmers’ debts in ten days on coming to power. Waiving US$40 billion debt in 10 days? Has anyone questioned this juvenile orator that when his party was in power why had these debts mounted and why were they were not waived then?
Reservations is the key to gaining unparalleled political power.
The Times of India, dtd. 28th November 2018. LINK
The Supreme Court has ruled that the maximum limit for reservations is 50%. No State can exceed this limit. However, with the Maharashtra Assembly unanimously voting 16% reservation for Marathas, the State has crossed this limit (it had already reached the 50% reservation limit).
The legality of this move will be contested much to the detriment of the ordinary people who have no say in such matters.
The problem created by politicians is the institution of ‘reservations in perpetuity’. Such actions have been deviously manipulated by them to divide and rule the country creating deep fissures of suspicion between people of different faiths, castes, states where there once existed little or none.
The Times of India, dtd. 14th October 2018. LINK
Congress Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has said, “When I go to Tamil Nadu, I don’t understand the language. There are just one or two words I understand. Not that I don’t like the food, but I cannot have it for a long time. The culture is totally different. But if I go to Pakistan, they speak Punjabi and English and I can relate to them more.”
Politicians from the ‘Hindi north’ have always viewed the ‘southern states’ as ‘alien land’. Sidhu’s comment comes as no surprise. Perhaps in this light one can understand the ‘Hindi north’s’ negative reaction to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for he hails from Gujarat, the home state of Mahatma Gandhi where Gujarati is the language of the masses.
The seven sisters – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura – have borne the brunt of massive influx of illegal immigrants post 1947 and post 1971 Indo-Pak War. Many of these aliens have been used by politicians to boost their vote bank. This has resulted in serious social and security consequences for the seven sisters.
The paramount problem is the Indian psyche of political sycophancy based on feudalism in politics. Since independence this great country had been ruled by one family until ‘usurpers’ won the ballot. Then all hell broke loose. Even now there are some ‘first families’ of politicians with their very own train of lackeys attempting to claw back power, which they assume, falsely, is hereditary. We should not be surprised by this. We permitted the Mughals and then British to rule us because we couldn’t agree to be united. So we deserved what was meted out. Now after independence why have we turned to self-destruct mode?
There is a dangerous new precedent where the courts are becoming battle grounds for those seeking to impose their ‘democratic’ rights on religious institutions, much to the detriment of the ‘rights’ of the faithful. The unseemly theatricals at the sacred temple complex of Sabrimala and the growing push to open up Nizammudin Dargah to women has its roots in politics of the seculars. After these two issues the next on the agenda, perhaps, would be the Catholic Church. Would the seculars insist that women conduct the sacred mass, and priests/nuns be allowed to marry, and would the sacred ‘confession’ be banned?
Are those seeking equal rights in democracy have a right to impose their rights on religious places, forms of worship, rituals and traditions?
And would the granting of these rights be in itself an imposition on the rights of the faithful?
So when will the editing or tampering with religious texts begin?
The bloody drama surrounding the ‘cow’ is a deliberate political tool to create a wedge between faiths, communities and even states, for the explicit purpose of garnering votes. One suspects this has very little to do with religious sensitivities.
Indian democracy is at cross roads where religion and state are merging into a fast flowing river with deadly political currents. And we have none other than ourselves to blame for electing politicians with ‘criminal cases’ against them to run the country. Law breakers becoming law makers makes a mockery of the constitution
When a Chinese leader remarked that India could be broken any time, he was not far from the truth. Certain Indian politicians have already begun in earnest to do the needful – divide and rule. And we are assisting them, willingly.
Question: Where do these politicians originate from?
Answer: From among us.
So why blame these elected criminals? Let us blame ourselves. Our social and moral values. Our vibrant ethos, which is riddled with these parasites. Perhaps we can begin helping the country by not voting for those with criminal records or cases against them in the elections. And not voting for people based solely on their religious or family profiles but on what they have done or can do for local communities – the development of infrastructure, toilets, clean drinking water, free primary education, food security and more.
India was never a country. It is a multi-faceted bejewelled civilisation that has stood the test of thousands of years of invasions and occupations.
Are we going to let it be destroyed by electing criminals and those who show scant respect for all Indians, to run the country?
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
© Mark Ulyseas