A nationwide campaign against criminals in politics, prompted by the nationwide outrage over the Mumbai terror attack, was launched here on Thursday.
Backed by top corporate bodies like NASSCOM and FICCI, along with over 2,000 NGOs and alumni of IITs and IIMs, the campaign, ‘No Criminals in Politics’, will inform voters through an SMS (567678) feedback on the past criminal record of current MPs and candidates for the 15th Lok Sabha elections.
Launching the campaign, former Reserve Bank of India governor and chairperson of Public Interest Foundation, Bimal Jalan, said that of the 543 Lok Sabha MPs, 128 had self-confessed cases pending against them whereas 24 MPs had a series of charges of murder or attempt to murder to their credit.
Jalan said the aim of the campaign would be three-pronged. First, it would ask the political parties not to give tickets to candidates with criminal backgrounds in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
Second, it would apprise the voters of criminal antecedents of candidates in each constituency.
Third, it would request voters not to support political parties that field candidates with criminal charges anywhere in the country. The campaign would be carried out SMS and audio-visual tools.
The campaign, which has Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar, noted lawyer Fali Nariman and Rajya Sabha MP Rahul Bajaj voicing their concern against criminals in politics, will also include stars such as Aamir Khan.
“We saw a lot of resentment against the present political system. It was then that we professionals thought that the Lok Sabha polls would be the time to do something to improve governance in our country. It led to the birth of this campaign,” said R. Gurumoorthy, coordinator for the campaign.
“‘No Criminals in Politics’ is a step to make citizens aware of their right to vote. It is a campaign to alert them that they also have the right to demand for the right candidate,” said a launch statement released on behalf of 21 organisations, including the Association for Democratic Reforms and Jaagore.com.
Voters can register for the campaign through an SMS to 567678 or logging into the website www.NoCriminals.org.