With the Supreme Court saying that MPs or MLAs convicted by a court of law would stand disqualified even if they appeal against their conviction, political parties have woken up to a new reality: criminality in politics may not work for long.
Though they welcomed electoral reforms in principle, they added they would have to study the judgment in detail.
The issue, however, isn’t new. A year ago, activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal irked many but struck a chord with the youth by saying that 163 MPs in Parliament were accused of heinous crimes like murder and rape.
1,460 out of 4,807 (30%) sitting MPs and MLAs have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits before the Election Commission; 688 (14%) of all sitting MPs and MLAs analysed have declared serious criminal cases against themselves; 1,258 (31%) out of the 4,032 sitting MLAs from all state assemblies have declared criminal cases against themselves.
With the apex court giving a voice to a sentiment shared by millions, the judgment is bound to affect electoral politics.
AICC General Secretary Ajay Maken said Congress always supported electoral reforms, but added the party would study the order. BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi welcomed the verdict, saying that electoral reforms should be expedited in the wake of the order.