Tribune India
Tribune News Service
New Delhi

A total of 476 candidates out of 1,710 who are in the fray in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha polls, are crorepatis, with assets exceeding Rs 1 crore, according to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), released on Saturday.

The ADR report further pointed out that the richest candidate was Chandra Sekhar Pemmasani of the Telugu Desam Party, with assets over Rs 5,700 crore. Interestingly, 24 candidates have declared zero assets, the report said further, adding out of the 1,710 candidates contesting in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha polls, 360 or 21 per cent have declared criminal cases against themselves.

The ADR has proposed a series of reforms aimed at curbing the criminalisation of politics, such as the provision of permanent disqualification of candidates convicted of serious crimes, bringing political parties under the Right to Information Act and implementing stricter penalties for candidates providing false information on election affidavits.

In the fourth phase of polling for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, all 25 seats of Andhra Pradesh and 17 seats of Telangana will vote on May 13. The ADR and the National Election Watch analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 1,710 out of 1,717 candidates, who are contesting in the fourth phase.

Among the 360 candidates (21 per cent) with criminal cases, 17 candidates have been convicted, 11 have declared cases related to murder, 30 face charges of attempted murder and 50 candidates have criminal cases related to crimes against women, with five candidates face charges of rape, the data showed.

The ADR findings also shed light on the distribution of candidates with criminal backgrounds across major political parties. Among the major parties, all three candidates of AIMIM, two of three candidates from Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde), 10 of 17 candidates from BRS, 35 of 61 candidates from Congress, 40 of 70 candidates from BJP, nine out of 17 candidates from TDP, two of four candidates from BJD, two of four candidates from RJD, two of four candidates from Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), 12 out of 25 candidates from YSRCP, three out of eight candidates from TMC and seven of 19 candidates from Samajwadi Party have declared criminal cases against themselves.

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