The Supreme Court’s Wednesday verdict, which struck down a provision in the electoral law that protects a convicted lawmaker from disqualification till an appeal is pending in higher courts, is likely to slow down the process of finalisation of Lok Sabha candidates underway in different parties in Uttar Pradesh.
“Now, the political parties will have to assess the status of criminal cases against such aspirants before finalising the names,” admitted a politician associated with choosing aspirants. While the ruling Samajwadi Party and main opposition BSP have already cleared most of the candidates, the Congress, BJP and the RLD have also launched exercise for selection of candidates.
Interestingly, while all of the political parties are welcoming the verdict, a debate has ensued in political circle over the fate of several tainted-MLAs facing trial in courts.
Among the sitting members of state assembly only Mafiosoturned-politician Mukhtar Ansari is in jail for a long time in Krishnanad murder case. SP MLA Vijay Mishra, who was one of the accused in murderous attack on former BSP minister Nand Gopal alias Nandi, is out on bail.
The CBI has been investigating case against independent MLA from Kunda Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya in connection with murder of circle officer Zia-ul-Haq.
Minister of state Dr Shiv Pratap Yadav said the Samajwadi Party was against the entry of criminals in politics and hence it welcomes the verdict.
He said SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had given clear directives that tainted people would not be given tickets.
State BJP president Laxmikant Bajpai too welcomed the verdict but said it (verdict) looks like a double-edge sword as it would cover both who are involved in heinous crime as well those fighting for people’s problems.
Pointing out that the BJP was against giving tickets to tainted people, Bajpai said there was no place for criminals in the party.
He said a thorough scrutiny would be done before announcing candidates in each parliamentary constituency.
Congress MLA Akhilesh Pratap Singh said the party was committed to electoral reforms and transparency in politics.
He said the Congress-led UPA government had taken various measures, including implementing the right to information (RTI) to ensure transparency in governance.
Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Munna Singh Chauhan also hailed the decision.