For those caught short on the wrong side of the law, hope has come in the philosophy of former Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. He feels that a criminal background should be no barrier to contesting elections if the said felon is sure to win. The dear man goes further. In the unique Kumaraswamy penitentiary and correctional school of thought, the erring party could actually be reformed when he or she comes into politics. This says, the ex-CM, is for the greater good of society. We do feel he has a point.
Given the manner in which politics is conducted these days, a career in strong-arm tactics, not to mention other forms of criminal activity, might come in useful. In state legislatures, and Mr Kumaraswamy knows a thing or two about the proceedings in these bodies, a certain muscle power bordering on the criminal is useful in order to uproot microphones, fling chairs about and, if required, land a few well-aimed punches on your opponent. We also agree with Mr Kumaraswamy when he questions our reluctance to ask politicians with clean images any uncomfortable questions. Indeed, we would like to know how his famous father and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, who coined the much-maligned epithet ‘humble farmer’ and his family came into such wealth and power if they started off tending the daisies chez Gowda.
The ex-CM has gone to such pains to defend his party’s decision to give a ticket to a history sheeter, that peculiar Indian coinage for a person with a criminal record. But in all fairness, it is good that we let everything out in the open. This would save us the trouble of investigating into the backgrounds of our elected representatives. This might mean that many of our tribe of journalists will be out of work, but what the heck, it is in the greater good of the motherland. Going by the Kumaraswamy doctrine, it is winnable-win situation all around.