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MPs with criminal backgrounds



In her incisive article, “Patronage versus populist democracy” (ST, Feb 2, 2018), Patricia Mukhim has highlighted the danger of patronage democracy which “is a system where the political party is made stable by a constant maintenance of a complex system of quid pro quo, in which money, goods and services flow from the party in control of the government through subordinate brokers to supporters.” Unfortunately, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which analysed the election affidavits filed before the Election Commission, 34 per cent of the new MPs face criminal charges. Thus, 16th Lok Sabha has the highest number of MPs with criminal cases as the percentage in 2009 and 2004 stood at 30 and 24 respectively. 

This fact stands in total contrast to the way officers in civil service are recruited. A person with a criminal record is not eligible to enter civil service. Before an appointment a thorough police verification (PVR) of the candidate is done. And if a person has any adverse police record then his or her candidature is rejected. Now, the question is ~ why should we have two diametrically different sets of rules ~ one for the elected executives and the other for the selected ones?

Yours etc.,

Sujit De,


Let the results speak!   


This is a belated response to Albert Thyrniang’s article, “The party to vote to power” (ST Jan 19, 2018) The writer is of the opinion that the only options for the 18,30,104 voters of Meghalaya is to go for a “Pan- State Party” on the voting day, February 27. The writer has not specifically mentioned which Party but it seemed to suggest that this is the Indian National Congress. I do not exactly know what the writer means by ‘Pan State Party’. Perhaps he means a party which has its presence all over the state (having units and functionaries in every nook and corner of the state and which is widely known and accepted everywhere).

The point is that political parties like NPP, UDP and other parties are also pan- state parties but they may not be up to the scale of the Congress Party because these parties are of recent origin in the state. But it is not correct to under-rate or underestimate them and to say that that they cannot form the Government and rule the state. Perhaps they can do better than the Congress if they are given a chance. Of course the Congress has an advantage because of its long innings and being the present ruling party, but this time there are too many odds are against it. The  democratic process has given parties of Meghalaya enough level playing fields. It is up to them to make up for their deficiencies and to devise ways and means on how to make use of the chances given to them. On March 3, 2018 the results will show which way the winds blows.

Yours etc.,

Philip Marwein,



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