R. Eswaran in Dindigul constituency has 14 cases against him, PMK’s Anbumani 12: ADR

A total of 13% of the candidates contesting the Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu scheduled for April 18 have criminal cases pending against them, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

An analysis by ADR of the affidavits submitted by 802 candidates shows 8% or 67 of them face strong criminal cases. The number of candidates contesting the polls are 845. Independent candidate R. Eswaran in the Dindigul constituency and PMK Dharmapuri candidate Anbumani Ramadoss face the highest number of criminal cases – 14 and 12 respectively, says the report released on Sunday by P. Sudarshan, trustee of ADR and coordinator of TN Election Watch, Deepa Seshadri and Jayaram Venkatesan, also of TN Election Watch.

Number of crorepatis

The report also says 23% or 184 candidates are crorepatis. As many as 23 candidates fielded by the DMK, 22 by the AIADMK, 19 members of the Makkal Needhi Maiam, 12 of Naam Tamilar Katchi, seven candidates of the Congress, all five candidates of BJP, five of the PMK and all four candidates of DMDK are crorepatis. Among 527 independent candidates 76 are crorepatis.

Congress candidate H. Vasanthakumar, fielded in the Kanniyakumari Parliamentary constituency, has assets to the tune of ₹417 crore, an independent candidate owing allegiance to T.T.V. Dhinakaran, Esakki Subaya, has ₹237 crore and AIADMK candidate A.C. Shanmugam has ₹126 crore.

A total of 17% of the candidates or 140 of them have not submitted their Permanent Account Number (PAN) details in their affidavits accompanying their election nominations.

Of them, 50% are graduates, only 8% are women and 38% are below 40 years of age. The ADR and RA Asterisc Computing & Data Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (RAAC) also conducted a survey across the country in late 2018 to identify voters’ priorities on specific governance issues, their ratings of the government's performance and factors influencing voting behaviour.

Top priorities

According to the Tamil Nadu Survey 2018, better employment opportunities (40.20%), better hospitals/primary healthcare centres (37.47%), and drinking water (35.02%) were the top three voters’ priorities.

The performance of the government on all top three priorities was rated below average.

In rural Tamil Nadu, the top-most voters’ priorities were availability of water for agriculture (40%), agriculture loan availability (40%), and agriculture subsidy for seeds/fertilisers (37%). Here too the performance of the government was rated as below average, according to the survey.

For the urban voters, the top-most priorities were better employment opportunities (48%), traffic congestion (46%), and better hospitals/primary healthcare centres (43%) and the performance of the government on urban voters’ priorities were 2.21 on a scale of 5, 2.27 and 2.15 respectively, it stated.

While the candidate’s party was important to 48% of the respondents, it was very important for 26% for voting for a particular candidate in an election.

Though 98% of voters felt that candidates with criminal background should not be in Parliament or State Assembly, only 37% voters knew that they could get information on criminal records of the candidates.

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