News / Asia

    In World's Largest Democracy, More Lawmakers Charged With Crime

    Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi (C), India's prime minister-elect from the Bharatiya Janata Party, performs a religious ritual on the banks of river Ganges at Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, May 17, 2014.
    Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi (C), India's prime minister-elect from the Bharatiya Janata Party, performs a religious ritual on the banks of river Ganges at Varanasi, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, May 17, 2014.
    Reuters
    More legislators charged with crimes will sit in India's new parliament than previously, a democracy watchdog said on Sunday, in a reminder that crime still pays in the world's largest democracy.

    Prime minister-elect Narendra Modi, who made fighting graft a central plank of his victorious campaign, won a stunning mandate to govern India by claiming the first clear majority in three decades.

    But many of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) colleagues elected to the new parliament faces serious criminal charges. Four out of the nine legislators who face murder cases come from his party.

    Thirty-four percent of the winners in India's election have criminal cases pending against them, four percentage points more than in 2009, analysis of the candidates affidavits by the Association for Democratic Reforms found.

    Of that, 21 percent were charged with serious crimes such as murder, kidnapping and sexual assault, up from 15 percent in the last election, the group said.

    In India, political parties are more likely to field criminals who are able to pay their own way. Election expenses have soared, with as much as $5 billion estimated to have been spent in this election.

    Moreover, criminals are often winners, with voters choosing candidates they think will take care of their parochial interests when the state isn't able to, analysts say.

    Criminals who have easy access to liquid forms of financing can see politics as a lucrative career.

    "Many of these deep-pocketed candidates view the money they must spend on elections ... as a down payment on an investment that offers serious returns," Milan Vaishnav of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote in a recent commentary.

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    by: Varun from: Houston
    May 18, 2014 10:55 PM
    Where were these news writers only 3 or 4 days ago with these news headlines? Did the Indian political landscape just change suddenly overnight and became 'corrupt'? Why did they NOT report on the corruption of hundreds of $$ Millions of the congress officials? Or are they politically aligned with loosers of Congress party - and only SORE LOOOOOOSERS!

    by: Venkat from: Los Angeles
    May 18, 2014 1:35 PM
    "....political parties are more likely to field criminals who are able to pay their own way" - it would be helpful to substantiate the statement with data. Also helpful will be comparing this stat with other democracies.

    by: Running amok from: Boston
    May 18, 2014 11:36 AM
    "More legislators charged with crimes will sit in India's new parliament than previously, a democracy watchdog said on Sunday"
    Who is this watch dog and what is their agenda and forYahoo at this time, I do not know but Indians electing a corruption free Narendra Modi (who happens to be a staunch Hindu ) should be a welcome news for the Western media and Yahoo . You have to understand why the Congress Party was kicked out of power. The Congress Party of Nehru in the 1950s had very few corruption scandals .Then in the 1970s India started seeing more corrupt politicians during the Congress Party administrations and the regional parties in Tamil Nadu and Andhra and other states adopting that as their policy. the only exception in those days were probably Communist Party administrations of Kerala and West Bengal( in the 1960s and 1970s)
    It is not surprising that the same corrupt politicians started committing other crimes, this is true for all parties including the Congress and the regional parties of India People continued to elect them. Corruption and criminal politicians were accepted as a way of life. Several recent leading cabinet members of the leaving Congress Party were corrupt, in spite of their Western education.ter). The new generation of Indians would not put up with that. Narendra Modi is an exception and hope for the future. If he fails, the only option left for India will be an authoritarian government or military rule. May be the Watch dog and Yahoo will prefer that over Modi.

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