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MUST READ: An ex-minister's anguished letter to the PM

Last updated on: January 03, 2013 17:51 IST

Lamenting the decline in polity, Trinamool Congress Member of Parliament Dinesh Trivedi on Thursday demanded that cases against politicians should be tried in fast-track courts and quick verdict should be delivered in them "to clean up our own house".

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he also demanded that the government not allow anyone except the President and the prime minister to use 'power symbols' like beacon lights or other privileges.

"The need of the hour is to recognise that somewhere we have failed to live up to the expectations of the founding fathers of our great democracy. We need to clean up our own house, the legislature. As per available information, there are many legislators with serious criminal records.

"Their cases should be tried by fast-track courts so that either they are acquitted if proven not guilty, or convicted, as there is no place for a single legislator with a criminal record to be either in assembly or Parliament," he said.

Referring to the recent gangrape and brutal assault of a 23-year-old girl, who died in December, he said such incidents appear to be just the tip of the iceberg, as there must be innumerable unreported incidences of sexual harassment at the workplace, home and religious organisations.

"Crime is on the rise and I can say with a lot of concern that if this continues without immediate check, then we could lose the very essence of democracy. To my mind, these incidences are just the symptoms of a cancer which is taking deep root in India," he said.

"We should come together and seriously introspect to find solutions rather than apportion blame," he said.

Trivedi said it is of utmost importance that Parliament should function the way it is supposed to, without acrimony.

Unfortunately, he said, Parliament is getting reduced to a "mockery and hooliganism" and the Speaker is "virtually terrorised".

"The politicians today appear to be serving their political parties first rather than the nation; their priority must be country first. I strongly feel a legislator must take an oath of allegiance first to the country along with the Constitution before entering Parliament or legislative assembly," the former railway minister said.

The bottom line is that the entire bureaucracy and police have been "completely politicised" and the system works only
for their political masters -- be it chief ministers or Union ministers in the Cabinet, Trivedi said.

 "Slowly but surely the common man is losing faith in democratic institutions such as Parliament, CBI, CAG, Judiciary etc, despite these institutions having a good number of capable and honest people," he said.

"One of the few steps that can be taken immediately is to do away with the show of power symbols, especially the privileges of the political class, such as beacon lights, the right of way to ministers and VIPs, pilot cars. The only exception could be that of the President and prime minister, and that too within civil limits. I hope you as the prime minister will realise the danger signals hovering over our nation which need to be addressed immediately before this cancer consumes our democracy and we all are left only to regret," he said