Madhyamam Online
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A recent report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms had claimed that 129 of the candidates standing for election in the fourth phase of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh have criminal records, making up 21% of the available candidate pool of 621.

The ADR report, based on an analysis of poll affidavits, found that 167 (27%) of the candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

Twenty-nine (49%) out of 59 constituencies going into polls in the fourth phase on February 23 are "red alert" constituencies. Red alert constituencies are those where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

According to the report, two candidates face rape charges, five face murder charges and 11 face 'attempt to murder' charges.

Among the major parties, 22 (38%) of 58 candidates from Congress, 22 (39%) of 55 Samajwadi Party (SP) nominees, 22 (37%) of 59 Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), 17 (30%) of 57 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and nine (20%) of 45 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) contestants face serious criminal charges.

The report also showed that of the 621 candidates, 231 (37%) are worth crores of rupees. Among the major parties, 50 (88%) out of 57 candidates from BJP, 48 (84%) of 57 candidates from SP, 44 (75%) out of 59 BSP candidates, 28 (48%) of 58 candidates of Congress, and 16 (36%) out of 45 AAP candidates have declared assets valued more than ₹1 crore.

The Association for Democratic Reforms is an election watchdog which has a stated aim of making election process and candidature more transparent for the purpose of empowering voters and democracy.

A recent report by the ADR from Punjab's Ludhiana has shown that assets of eight out of 13 MLAs who are re-contesting in Ludhiana district have increased by more than 20%. The biggest growth in assets was seen by Lakhvir Singh, Congress MLA from Payal at 268%, followed by Jagraon AAP MLA Sarvjit Kaur Manuke, who is also contesting from the same seat. Manuke's assets have grown by 98%.

The Uttarakhand Election Watch and the ADR have analysed self-sworn affidavits of 626 candidates out of the 632 who are contesting in the assembly polls. Uttarakhand, which has 70 assembly seats, is going to polls on February 14. Out of the 626 candidates, 61 candidates (10%) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves, compared to 8% in 2017 assembly polls, the ADR report released a week ago claims.

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