Amid all the celebrations about a younger Parliament, decisive victory and the stock market euphoria, here's something to pause and think about.
National Election Watch has sent out a press release with some stark statistics that speak for themselves. I am reproducing some of the highlights:
1. There are 150 newly elected MPs with criminal cases pending against them. Out of these, there are 73 MPs having serious charges against them.
2. As compared to 2004, the no of MPs with criminal records has gone up. There were 128 MPs with criminal cases in 2004 Lok Sabha out of which 55 had serious criminal records. There is an increase of about 17.2% in MPs with criminal records and 30.9% increase in the number of MPs with serious criminal records.
3. BJP has maximum MPs having criminal cases - 42 MPs have criminal cases against them, out of which 17 MPs have serious criminal cases against them. It has followed by Congress - 41 MPs with criminal cases out of which 12 MPs have serious charges against them.
4. Amongst the states, UP has maximum MPs with criminal cases (total of 31 out of which 22 have serious charges against them). Maharashtra is second with 23 MPs having criminal cases out of which 9 have serious cases against them.
5. There are 300 crorepati MPs in the new Lok Sabha. This is a huge increase from what the number was in 2004.
I wonder how may more crores they will add to their kitty by the time they have to declare their assets in 2014!
The work done by ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms) is phenomenal. It's the dogged determination of people like Prof Trilochan Sastry who jolted the system out of its slumber and made this possible.
The next step is to make candidates accountable for their (probably) ill-gotten gains. Let 's be generous and assume the assets declared thus far are self earned or accrued from 'gifts' and/or inheritance. But iske aagey, let them show how exactly they are amassing additional wealth!
This is an issue that should be followed up relentlessly, by the media. But sadly, I doubt it will!