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Why I will not vote for JD(S) in this election, or ever.

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With state JD(S) chief H D Kumaraswamy on Monday brazenly saying that he saw nothing wrong in fielding criminals if they looked like winnable candidates, the comfort that Bangaloreans enjoyed, compared to those living in the cow belt, has evaporated. In an exclusive interaction with TOI ahead of BBMP polls, Kumaraswamy said that his criteria for giving tickets to criminals is simple: he/she should have the support of party workers and people of the area and should be able to win. Obviously a case of political arithmetic trumping morals and scruples. But, is it right to bring criminals into politics? “What’s wrong? It’s a chance for them to reform. If they change, isn’t it an achievement and better for the society?”

For the full report, click here.

It is not as if the other parties are totally clean, either. When Prof Rajeev Gowda, the spokesman of the Congress, was asked if he can guarantee that his party was not fielding candidates with criminal records, at the TV-9 debate yesterday, he was evasive and stated that he was only in-charge of putting out the manifesto, sounding very apologetic. As compared to that, this statement of Mr Kumaraswamy is no less than an open invitation to indulge in crime.

Incidentally, this is also the person, who after the trouncing his party suffered in the Assembly elections, was reported to have told his party workers "let's not bother with Bangalore" - check this

Certainly, Bangalore does not want someone like him leading it.

Muralidhar Rao


nanda_ramesh's picture


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I think, if the criminal in question has paid his dues and indeed reformed, he can certainly contest and give back to society.

But is that the case for those are in the fray now? I don't think so. It is upto the people to reject such candidates. I read in Bangalore Mirror today that many goondas with active cases against them have fielded their wives as their wards are reserved for women.


psaram42's picture

HDK would not mind leading criminals.

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 In Karnataka people took solace thinking criminalization of politics is only in the cow belt area. 

“Cow Belt is a term often used by Indian media to refer the group of Indian states located along the Indo-Gangetic Plain. In these states infrastructure, education and living standard is very poor.  Despite the stronghold on politics these states failed in overall development.” 

But unfortunately things are changing. In democracy it is the majority that counts. If a criminal is able to win an election a party would not mind giving a ticket to such a person. In a recent debate organized by TOI HD Kumaraswamy brazenly voiced this opinion. This makes one wonder whether HDK has scant regard to law and order or values in life. People are hungry for power and accumulating wealth far greater than necessary. HDK would not mind leading criminals.

Vasanth's picture

Indian Election Commission should consider these things..

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If any of the family members, father, husband, brother is having a criminal record, he should never be given ticket. I don't know how this can be implemented, but it should be implemented.

A lady candidate came to my home and all of her fellow men looked like utter 'Goondas'. How can I vote if all of the candidates are like this?

Naveen's picture

The flip side - We still vote criminals

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HDK's statement sounds questionable, is dubious & he sounds like an irresponsible politician prepared to stoop to any level in his desperation to win back some of his party's losses.

However, as mentioned by Nanda Ramesh above, if there are deserving cases, there is no harm as they might contribute well.

Knowing our politics, the sad part is that people still vote for corrupt criminals. Who is to be blamed then ?

silkboard's picture

Come, define a criminal

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I applaud HDK for having the guts to say this out loud, just like he had when he taunted Bangaloreans as people who don't care to vote. TOI would certainly have twisted a few words in their coverage, I am guessing HDK would have said something like - whats the problem if the candidate can get votes and win?

Like nanda_ramesh said above

"It is upto the people to reject such candidates."

Judging people outside of courts (who is a criminal and who is not) is not our job, voting for who we think is not a criminal is.

psaram42's picture

Who is a criminal?

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 Let me try to define one. 

The following is an online dictionary meaning of the word criminal 

  1. Of, involving, or having the nature of crime: criminal abuse.
  2. Relating to the administration of penal law.
  3. Guilty of crime.
    1. Characteristic of a criminal. 
  4. Shameful; disgraceful: a criminal waste of talent. 

Essentially it is penal law or the code defined by us the people in a democracy or by the ruler in autocracy. There are separate codes of conduct defined for personal or community use also. What is correct for me may not be correct to some body else. Instead of having anarchy one would prefer to have a code of conduct for convenience. 

Unfortunately criminal is not a criminal until proved in a court. This person whom HDK is backing has 15 cases registered against him with the police. He is absolved in 13. Still two are pending. 

Judicial and Police reforms are over due. So are statesmen. [Not cheap politicians who want to win at any cost to make it up many folds later] This game will go on till good sense prevails. 

The point is the mind set of our politicians. Is HDK trying to take advantage of our helpless ness? Is his tribe that is causing the perpetual delay of the much awaited reforms etc? I like HDK for his guts. He is young and belongs to a strong political family. I wish such advantages should make him more of a statesman, a promoter of the public good and a good leader in public affairs. Winning elections at what cost?


murali772's picture

Criminal case study

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@SB - Quote from today's TOI: "JD(S) candidate Mohammed Ali alias Dewan Ali, contesting from Banashankari Temple (Ward 180), is perhaps a good example of Kumaraswamy’s rationale of giving tickets to those with a criminal background. Various sections of IPC under which he is charged are: 324 — Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons, 307 — Attempt to murder, 302 — Punishment for murder, 326 — Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons, 364A — Kidnapping for ransom, etc, 386 — Extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt, 506 — Punishment for criminal intimidation".

You would still maintain your stand?


Muralidhar Rao
Rithesh's picture

Everyone does that.. HDK just said it out loud!

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Murali Sir, 

Please let me know of a party which wont be fielding candidates without a criminal background (LS might be an exception - but its still an unborn baby).

I am surprised at the moral high ground taken by other parties when reacting to this statement. Clandestinely every party does that. I am not a supporter of JD(s) but i appreciate the guts he has to say what he thinks - be it this one or the "lets not bother about Bangalore" statement. After all he knows that we arm chair experts wont even bother to go out and vote. Come Sunday and i will be surprised if the voter turn out crosses 35%.

silkboard's picture

yeah, that one sounds like a criminal

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and I won't vote for him if he runs in my area.

What I meant to say Murali is that civil society's duty #1 is to vote. Unfortunately, we prefer judging over voting. No amount of legal documentation will be able to filter 'criminals' out. Best we can expect is perhaps what Mr Trilochan Shastri has managed for us - at least we would know the case history of all candidates.

May be, a printed copy of crime and asset record of all candidates should be made available in each polling station.

murali772's picture


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This is the same "guts" as that shown by Mohammed Atta and his associates who piloted the passenger aircrafts onto the New York twin towers, or that of the Naxalites who kill village policemen and rape their own women cadres. And, they are banking on responses like yours from the public - that's what sustains them. Not for once is any of them saying that it is unfortunate, and we would like to see it different. They are justifying it, and actively perpetuating it. And, responses like yours encourages them - as such, it amounts to "dis-sevana" from a "prajasevaka".

As compared to Mr Kumaraswamy, the other party leaders are at least apologetic, conveying the impression that they are forced by circumstances to indulge in these practices, but would like things to be different.

And, as to the question of voting, yes, I don't expect even a 10% participation from the complex where I am staying (though most are registered), because the choice before us is totally pathetic. I myself will go about it more as a ritual. If the voter list was more representative of the eligible population than the present dismal level of less than 50%, it would perhaps have encouraged better candidates to come into the fray - yes, I am blaming the system, and offering solutions too - check this.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

very little choice

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@ SB
Shouldn't you instead be saying "I'll not vote for a party that puts up such candidates".

And, as to the question of judging and not voting, I have partly answered in my earlier post. Further, thanks to the disclosure norms, etc, we have made our judgment of them all, and, leave alone engaging with any of them, we find that we can't even communicate with them. Fortunately, we have an MLA who is quite approachable and hard working, though his methods may be questionable - check this. But, it looks like I have very little option other than to vote for his proxy.


Muralidhar Rao
Naveen's picture

Criminal record declaration - good idea

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a printed copy of crime and asset record of all candidates should be made available in each polling station

This is similar to assets declaration & will help voters decide if those that have pending criminal cases are okay or not, assuming of course that large sections of voters cast their votes in the first place.

Having said this & knowing the way our system works, I think some unscrupulous candidates might even be tempted to file fictitious criminal cases against other/s in an attempt to gather more votes - politics is a business, after all & gets winners power & wealth.

All this discussion is only of academic interest since most middle class urbanites are going to shun these BBMP ward elections. Those mostly dependent on gifts from party candidates are likely to vote !

Last time, during state assembly elections, me & my wife were the only ones from our colony of 200 units who had voted !!! Most had voter id cards, though. So, I don't think there's any reason to believe that the middle classes will fulfill their duties & cast their votes.

silkboard's picture

May be ...

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May be that National or State level parties shouldn't be allowed to contest local elections. Sounds silly, but seeing money (and muscle too) power in local elections is saddeining. There would be councillors, and there will be RWAs. And if Congress wins BBMP, we are in for extra delays in decision making.

May be, should leave Local elections for RWA types only. May be, only allow registered RWA members to vote.

silkboard's picture

I vote for candidate, not party

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Murali sir, appreciate your aggressive stance, but I prefer to vote for candidates, not party. Thats because, this party or that party, don't think we get anything that different. Purely my opinion if I am entitled to one. In my area, for all you know, if the candidate from JD-S sounds cleanest, I may even vote for HDK's party even though I don't like him fielding proven criminals elsewhere.

Not having good enough choice for elections, inability for you and me to get in the parties and contest - all these are very election-related issues.

But I think that we can find a way ot this mess by focusing on what happens after the elections. Making life difficult for those who win and then take things easy is the more realistic way of ending up with better options at election time.

murali772's picture

MLAs and BDA plots

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On the TV9 Kannada channel debate yesterday, while on the subject of constructions across Rajakaluve's, Mr Kumaraswamy came up with a story of how, as the Chief Minister, he had to intervene in the case of a hutment belonging to a poor widow with two small children, obviously with a view to earn some brownie points with the viewers amongst the EWS lot. The Lok Ayukta, Mr Santosh Hegde, put him in his place, asking him why he did not bother to allot BDA plots to them instead of alloting plots to MLAs, who already have their homes in their native places, if he was so concerned about the EWS lot. Mr Kumaraswamy was left mouthing some mumbo-jumbo.  


@ Naveen & SB

The candidates declarations (sworn affidavits) of wealth and criminal records are already available on the net. Any NGO/ RWA, if interested, can tabulate and display them for the benefit of the voters. SmartVote in Koramangala is doing that, and a lot more.


Muralidhar Rao
srinidhi's picture

why party is important too..

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In my opinion, the party becomes important because of its ideology which will be eventually reflected by the party the corporator in this instance..

Also flow of funds for civil works  also depends unfortunately on the ruling parties..

There are very few example of strong leaders who have braved apposition from the ruling parties and done really good in their own constituencies..Chandrashekhar in Gandhi Bazaar is one of them..

It shouldnt end up like 'I want to do a lot saar, but the ruling party doesnt share proper funds(meaning more than what I can pocket)..what to do?'

Naveen's picture

Election Wine

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The cocktail of Indian elections ---

EWS - they vote everytime, but do so depending on caste /creed & in anticipation of gifts !

Middle classes - do not vote, emphasizing "it does't matter if I don't vote". However, they expect to see maximum focus by politicians & authorities on issues such as clean water, clean air, dirt-free roads, etc. - all else be damned (like poverty erradication, free schooling, free meals, etc).

Political aspirants - wary & conscious about media & the middle classes whose voices are the loudest, but campaign with slogans that appeal most to EWS since that's where the voters are.

silkboard's picture

Good jab from Mr Santosh Hegde

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That was a good one Murali. Only thing is that HDK did it, the cong govt before him did it too, and Yeddy would be doing it as well.

But yes, the point is about choice. And I vote for candidate first, party later, because going by the results, seems to me that they are all mostly the same, this way or that way. Naxlas promise to do it via guns, Maya/Lalu promise to do it in socially equal ways, HDK/Gowda would do it in the hinterland first, BJP will do it for Hindu's first, Congress  promises to do it for all at once etc etc etc. 30 years since Congress monooly was breached (1977), and neither of approaches have given any seriously different results.

I await the day when focus would shift away from elections to performance. I don't really want to know asset and crime levels of Mr Yeddyurappa / HDK / Krishna and their ministers, I would rather want a GPS on bodies and cameras on houses and offices around Vidhan Soudha and cars to know what he and each of his men and women are doing 5 days a week, 8 hours a day and 50 weeks an year. Thats tracking, literally. Guys should be scared to enter and occupy public offices, period. right now they are not, all are rather too happy. and thats the problem.

idontspam's picture

Lowest unit & party relevance

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Just to weigh in on candidate vs party. If devolution in funds and management can happen at ward level the party will become less relevant if not immeterial. This is probably why they dont want to give up. If each ward were to prepare its budget at the beginning of each year present them and get funds disbursed to their account, the utilization will be that much more efficient. The corporator will only need to go to BBMP for non plan expenditure. The lowest P&L unit shouldnt be BBMP it should be the ward. comment guidelines

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