The Indian Express

Former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami has said that election and corruption have become intertwined. Speaking on the topic ‘Election and corruption: Are they Inseparable?’ at the 15th Kalki Sadasivam Memorial Lecture, he threw light on various incidents of corruption during election time. He also highlighted statistics that showed that in India, the chances of winning was more for the candidate who had more money.

“Election and corruption have become inseparable these days. The amount of money spent during election to bribe the voters has increased by multifold. There should be an institution to monitor and regulate the money spent by each party during election time,” saidsisted Gopalaswami.

He said that in India the richest had a 25 per cent chance of winning an election. He revealed figures that illustrated how criminality and assets were related to politics and election.

According to the National Election watch, in the last 10 years there are around 62,487 candidates in which 18 per cent have criminal cases and 11 per cent have serious criminal cases against them.

“But they are being overlooked and go scot-free. They further go on and get elected and continue to do their misdoings. Partly, this blame has to be taken up by the people because it is we who elect them after taking what they give us. This has to change and for that people need to be educated,” he said.

He also gave a word  of caution against small-time parties that operated with the sole purpose of swindling money.   He added that among the total 1,594 parties only less than half of them were serious enough to be in politics.

Gopalaswami pointed out that good governance was possible only when the people were vigilant and insisted on utilising the RTI Act.

“With  the Aam Aadmi Party in action, there was some hope to show politicians the real picture of the reality and show them what judiciary is. But, from now on it’s on the people, we are our saviours,” he said.

At the event, many students were given scholarships by the Kalki Sadasivam Memorial Trust. Around 10 students, who  were in courses related to media studies, received the scholarship from the former CEC.

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