Indian parliament now has the highest ever number of MPs with criminal background. In the just concluded parliamentary elections, 153 candidates with criminal charges against them have made it to the lower house. This is up from 128 candidates with criminal background who won in the last elections held in 2004.
According to a report by a non-profit organization National Election Watch, 73 out of the total 153 tainted MPs who won this year have serious criminal charges being investigated against them. This number is also up from 55 in 2004.
The largest opposition party BJP has the highest- 43 MPs- who have criminal investigations pending, followed by the ruling Congress party which has 41 MPs with criminal charges.
The only silverlining is that 26 candidates with a criminal record lost in this year's elections. Most of them were either sitting MPs or were former MPs. Partly, this was a result of a natiowide campaign by National Election Watch asking voters to reject dubious candidates.
An increasing number of MPs with criminal record is not a good sign for Indian businesses and economy. These criminal-politicians will breed even more potent corruption and undermine the rule of law. Unfortunately, corrupt companies will be able to find more friends among the lawmakers to influence government contracts while those companies which prefer to run a clean business will be at a disadvantage. More MPs with criminal histories will also mean more businesses receiving more extortion calls.