ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Holding a Mirror to the New Lok Sabha

Following a Supreme Court directive, the 2004 parliamentary elections saw the submission of affidavits by contesting candidates for the first time, providing information on their education, assets, criminal cases, borrowings from public financial institutions and dues to the government. This paper presents the findings obtained by an analysis of affidavits submitted by elected candidates. While they point to the increasing number of younger (age group 36-55) and educated (graduates) MPs, other instances also confirm the correlation between money power and criminal cases. The clear dominance of the better-off in the electoral arena calls for a reform of electoral laws. Not only is greater transparency and accountability required, but also a debate on whether elections need to be publicly financed, so as to enable the creation of a level playing field for all aspiring candidates.

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