Lok Sabha elections: 21% candidates contesting sixth phase face criminal cases


Twenty-one percent, or 180 out of the 866 candidates contesting the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 25 have declared criminal cases against themselves, non-governmental organisation Association for Democratic Reforms said in a report on Thursday.

The Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 866 out of the 869 candidates contesting in the sixth phase in seven states.

Polling will take place in Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

The report found that 141, or 16% out of 866 candidates, have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

The poll watchdog classified serious criminal offences as those that have a maximum punishment of five years or more, are non-bailable, or related to loss to exchequer. Serious offences also include assault, murder, kidnap, rape related, or those mentioned in the Representation of the People Act. They also include offences under Prevention of Corruption Act and crimes against women.

Twelve candidates in the sixth phase have declared cases where they have been convicted, according to the report. Six candidates have declared cases related to murder against themselves. While 21 candidates have declared cases related to attempt to murder, 16 have declared cases related to hate speech against themselves.

The analysis also found that 24 candidates contesting in the sixth phase of the polls have declared cases related to crime against women. Out of these 24 candidates, three have declared charges related to rape, the report said.

Among major parties, all four candidates of the Rashtriya Janata Dal in the sixth phase have serious criminal charges against them. All five candidates of the Aam Aadmi Party have criminal cases against them, out of whom four have declared serious criminal cases in their affidavit.

Nine out of 12 candidates of the Samajwadi Party have serious criminal charges against them. While 28 out of 51 candidates from the Bharatiya Janata Party have criminal charges. Four out of nine candidates from the Trinamool Congress have criminal cases, and three of them have serious criminal charges.

Two out of six candidates from the Biju Janata Dal and eight out of the Congress’ 25 candidates in the sixth phase have declared criminal cases against themselves.

The report found that 35 out of the 57 constituencies going to polls in the sixth phase are “red alert” constituencies, where three or more candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

“The Supreme Court in its directions dated 13th February, 2020 had specifically instructed political parties to give reasons for such selection and why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates,” the Association for Democratic Reforms said. “As per these mandatory guidelines, the reasons for such selection has to be with reference to qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned.”

However, the election watchdog noted that the court’s directions have had no effect on the political parties in selection of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls. It said that all major parties contesting in the sixth phase have given tickets from 32% to 100% candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves.

“This data clearly shows that political parties have no interest in reforming the electoral system and our democracy will continue to suffer at the hands of lawbreakers who become lawmakers,” the poll watchdog said.


Also read: 23% candidates contesting in fifth phase of Lok Sabha polls face criminal cases


Asset analysis

The Association for Democratic Reforms’ report also showed that 338, or 39%, of the 866 candidates, have declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore.

All six candidates from the Biju Janata Dal, all four candidates from the Rashtriya Janata Dal, all four fielded by the Janata Dal (United) have declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore.

Meanwhile, 48 out of the 51 candidates belonging to the BJP, 11 out of the 12 candidates from the Samajwadi Party, 20 out of the 25 candidates from the Congress have assets worth more than Rs 1 crore.

Four out of five candidates of the Aam Aadmi Party and seven out of nine candidates analysed from the Trinamool Congress have declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore.

The richest candidate contesting the polls in the sixth phase is BJP’s Naveen Jindal from Haryana’s Kurukshetra who declared assets worth more than Rs 1,241 crore. Jindal, an industrialist, is followed by the Biju Janata Dal’s Santrupt Misra who has declared assets worth more than Rs 482 crore and Aam Aadmi Party’s Sushil Gupta with assets worth Rs 169 crore.

The poorest candidate contesting the polls is Randhir Singh with assets worth Rs 2. He is contesting as an independent candidate from Haryana’s Rohtak.




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