The recently concluded Assembly Elections brought along many changes, including the BJP's masterful ascension to power in Assam. Unfortunately, crime still remains inextricably linked with politics in India. After the Assembly Elections, all 4 states witnessed an increase in the number of MLAs that face serious criminal charges, according to Association for Democratic Reforms' .  Alarmingly, the proportion of these MLAs more than doubled in Kerala. While we could not find an exhaustive list of what "serious" criminal charges constitute, they include murder, abetment to murder, extortion, kidnapping and rape.

Few political parties are innocent

Unfortunately, this problem pervades all major parties. The only parties that had fewer than 5% candidates facing serious charges were the Indian Union Muslim League (a North-Kerala party), Asom Gana Parishad (an Assamese Party) and the Bodoland Peoples Front (another Assamese party). BJP, Congress and other large regional parties all had a substantial number of candidates that faced serious crime charges.

The youth is no better

The youth - the perpetual hope that will 'clean up the system' - seems to fare no better. Young MLAs (defined as those that are less than 45 years old), do little better than their grizzled counterparts. 9% of young Assamese MLAs faced serious charges, as compared to 8% of all Assamese MLAs. West Bengal had a similar story, where 29% of young MLAs faced serious charges compared to 31% of all MLAs.

While Tamil Nadu offered some hope (only 10% of young MLAs faced serious charges, compared to 19% of all MLAs), Kerala was a major cause for concern (a mammoth 46% of young MLAs faced serious charges, compared to 20% of all MLAs).

Numbers like these make my very worried about the future of India. While the Supreme Courts historic decision to immediately disqualify convicted representatives was a huge step in the right direction (notably, all major parties fought against it), the slow and labored judicial system makes it a blunt weapon.

A sorry state of affairs indeed.