As the euphoria over verdict 2014 cools, the warts begin slowly surfacing. A study by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) has demonstrated that about 186 of the 543 winning candidates in the 16th Lok Sabha have criminal cases declared in their pre-poll affidavits. That makes one-third of the new legislature not just tainted, but heavily compromised. This, despite Supreme Court’s observation last year that corruption cases against MPs and MLAs must be fast-tracked in court and be resolved within one year. Moreover, the apex court had also ruled that convicted legislators must not be allowed to continue in their governmental posts even though they have been democratically elected. Yet, the number of MPs with chequered pasts has gone up this time, since in 2009, 30 per cent of Lok Sabha members had criminal cases against them, while the 16th lower house of Parliament has 34 per cent of such unpalatable participants.
That 21 per cent of our elected representatives have grave charges against them, including causing communal disharmony, kidnapping, crimes against women, sexual and communal violence, etc, is a telling sign that Verdict2014 isn’t as unanimous as it seemed on the day the results were declared. Especially, since the BJP has the maximum number of tainted MPs, with 98 out of 284 winners, or about 35 per cent of the total tally, or one per cent higher than the national average. Other parties, including the Congress, Shiva Sena, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, etc, have substantial numbers with dirty backstories, often murderous and fraudulent. It needs to be asked how a mandate against a decade-long-rule infested with corruption scandals can afford to have picked in a free and fair election representatives who themselves are embroiled in such pitiful instances of deceit, ethical and criminal. It is a testament to the political schizophrenia of a nation in flux that it replaces a reign of error with a reign of terror, almost.