‘Will strengthen democracy’: BJP, Congress hail SC verdict on decriminalisation of politics
The Supreme Court expressed concerns over increasing criminalisation of politics on Thursday and said the details should include the nature of the offences, and whether charges have been framed against the candidates.Updated: Feb 14, 2020 02:45 IST
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Opposition Congress on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court’s directive asking political parties to publicise on their websites, social media platforms and in newspapers details of candidates with criminal backgrounds they pick to contest elections.
The court expressed concerns over increasing criminalisation of politics on Thursday and said the details should include the nature of the offences, and whether charges have been framed against the candidates.
“It [the direction] strengthens the electoral democratic process in enabling the voters to make a choice keeping all factors in mind,” said BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli. He added that the directive has to be complied with.
Congress spokesperson, Jaiveer Shergill, called the directive an important step towards decriminalising politics. He added it is a vindication of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s fight against the criminalisation of politics and his stand to make politics free from crime and criminals.
Shergill attacked the BJP and called it is “a believer in politics of crime and criminals and not clean and clear politics”.
He added the historic direction has come at a time when the BJP has appointed Anand Singh as a minister in Karnataka despite 15 cases of corruption against him.
Singh, who was arrested in 2015 on charges of illegal transportation of iron ore, was inducted into chief minister B S Yediyurappa’s ministry in Karnataka on February 6. The pending cases against him include one under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.
Shergill said Singh’s appointment is a stamp of approval for the Bellary mine scam “by none other than the Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] and the state chief minister”.
He added Singh’s induction is also an “endorsement of the fact that the BJP does not believe in corruption-free government rather believes in corruption and corrupt loaded government”.
“The crux of the matter today is that the BJP is the provider, protector, and beneficiary of the gang of criminals and gangsters who are mushrooming in this country and now sitting in Parliament of India.”
Shergill said the Congress was on the path of decriminalising politics with a strong commitment to cleanse politics and to make it free from crime and criminals. “...no political party today can admit that their candidates’ selection is absolutely crime-free. But looking at the statistics prevalent in the public domain and if you have to weigh them in the scales of who has the clear intent to cleanse the politics, it is the Congress. Out of the 106 members of Parliament, who have cases of serious crime registered against them, 92 are from the BJP and 6 from the Congress. This is why we will achieve the target of decriminalisation of politics in a fast and speedy manner.”
The BJP declined to comment on the allegations.
Congress’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala, tagged a news report on Singh’s appointment in Karnataka as the forest, environment and ecology minister and tweeted: “Today itself, Modi ji has torn to shreds the orders of giving reasons for giving tickets to leaders accused in cases.”