The West Bengal sting is not the first time that elected leaders have been caught on camera accepting money and promising favours. While the party in question will always label it as political conspiracy, such incidents raise larger systemic questions of probity at higher levels. The problem runs across the political spectrum. The cash-for-questions scam in the last decade where members of Parliament from different political parties were seen taking money for raising questions in Parliament is a case in point. Although corruption at higher levels has gained traction as a poll issue in recent years, it has not really deterred political parties from offering tickets to leaders charged in such cases.
While the relevant agencies are likely to probe the latest case, it is time for the issue to be properly debated beyond mere tokenism. A transparency-, probity- and accountability-reinforced democratic system will lead to efficiency. India will need this to attain its economic potential.