Ahmedabad Mirror
Ahmedabad Mirror

Of The 167 Candidates With Criminal Cases, As Many As 100 Have Been Named In Serious Crimes. AAP Has The Highest Percentage Of Candidates With Criminal Cases

As many as 167 candidates contesting the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly Election have criminal records against them, a report by the Gujarat Election Watch and ADR said on Thursday. Candidates with criminal antecedents constitute 21% of the total candidates contesting in the first phase. Of the 167, as many as 100 have serious criminal cases against them,
Offences that have a maximum punishment of more than five years, non-bailable offences, electoral offences such as bribery, loss to the exchequer, assault, murder, kidnapping, rape, offences mentioned in the Representation of People Act, Prevention of Corruption Act and crime against women fall in the serious criminal offences category.
As many as 36% of AAP candidates, 35% of Congress candidates, 29% of  BTP candidates and 16% of BJP candidates have criminal cases against them.
As for candidates with serious crime cases recorded against them, AAP has 33%, Congress 20%, BJP 12% and BTP 7%.
Maj. Gen. Anil Verma, head of National Election Watch said they have recommended disqualification of candidates with serious crimes like murder, rape, dacoity and smuggling among others.
The body has also recommended that such candidates be disallowed from contesting elections.
“Besides, we have also sought that parties that continue to field such criminal candidates should be de-registered and derecognised,” he said.
Nine candidates have cases related to crime against women, three have murder cases against them and 12 have declared cases of attempt to 
As many as 26 of the 88 AAP candidates, 18 of the 89 Congress candidates, 11 of the 89 BJP candidates and one candidate of the BTP have declared that they have serious criminal cases registered against them.
Verma said the SC’s directions in the matter have not impacted political parties’ choice of candidates as 21% of candidates contesting in the polls have criminal cases against them.
“The Supreme Court in its direction on February 13, 2020, had instructed political parties to assign reasons for selecting candidates with criminal antecedents and why individuals with clean criminal records were not selected,” said Verma.
He said in the six state Assembly elections held in 2022, political parties have given unfounded and laughable reasons like the popularity of candidates, social work and politically motivated cases as the reason for continuing with such candidates.
The data shows the political parties have no interest in reforming the electoral system and democracy will continue to suffer as lawbreakers become lawmakers.

28% of constituencies in the first phase are Red Alert ones
The  Gujarat Election and ADR have declared as many as 25 constituencies in phase one as Red Alert Constituencies. These constituencies have three or more candidates with declared criminal cases. The 25 constitute 28% of the 89 constituencies that go to polls on December 1.
Topping the list is Limbdi in Surendranagar with 7 of the 15 candidates with criminal cases.
Others include Limbayat in Surat (6), Bhavnagar West (5), Karanj in Surat (4), Lathi in Amreli (4), Rajkot South (4), Rajula in Amreli (4), Dharampur in Valsad (4), Rapar in Kutch (4), Kutiyana in Porbandar (4), Dhari in Amreli (4) and Vagra in Bharuch (4).
Three candidates each in Rajkot East, Surat East, Jamnagar South, Choryasi in Surat, Dediapada in Narmada, Rajkot West, Udhna in Surat, Dwarka in Devbhumi Dwarka, Bhavnagar East, Talaja in Bhavnagar, Keshod in Jamnagar, Kamrej in Surat and Porbandar also have criminal cases against them.

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