The final episode of Satyamev Jayate, the popular Sunday TV show hosted by actor Aamir Khan, on March 30 focussed on criminalization of politics. It presented data from the Lok Sabha elections of 2004 and 2009.
What shocked many viewers was that the number of people elected to the Lok Sabha and who had criminal cases pending against them, as declared in their affidavits, had increased from 125 in 2004 to 162 in 2009.
Now for 2014. An analysis of the affidavits of 1,566 candidates, of the 1,594 who are contesting Phases 1 to 4, reveals that 278 (or 18 percent) have declared pending criminal cases against themselves.
Given this situation, what should or can a voter do? This represents the classical Hobson's choice.
The expressions "criminalization of politics" and "politicization of crime" were introduced in the Indian political lexicon in 1993 by the then union home secretary, N.N. Vohra, who is now the governor of Jammu and Kashmir, in what has come to be called the Vohra Committee Report.