The Week

Of the 670 candidates who are contesting the sixth phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, 27 per cent have criminal cases to their names and of these, 23 per cent have serious criminal offences registered against them. A total of 676 candidates are contesting in the sixth phase.

An analysis of candidate affidavits by the Association of Democratic Reforms has yielded that the highest number of candidates with criminal cases are fighting from the Samajwadi Party (SP), followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Indian National Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The ADR analysed affidavits of 670 of the 676 candidates; details on the copies of the remaining affidavits were unclear.

The list of candidates with serious offences follows the same pattern. There are eight candidates who have cases of crimes against women registered against them, and of these two have been charged with rape. Eight is also the number of candidates with murder charges to their name while 23 candidates face attempt to murder charges.

More than half the constituencies (37 out of 57) constituencies in the phase are red alert constituencies—that is constituencies where there are three or more candidates with criminal cases to their names.

The analysis also brings out the fact that money power continues to play a big role in elections; 38 per cent of the candidates whose affidavits were analysed are crorepatis.

Such candidates are found in the greatest numbers in the SP, followed by the BJP, BSP, INC and AAP. It is noteworthy that in the first party, 94 per cent of the candidates have assets above 1 crore rupees, while in the BJP, 81 per cent candidates fall in the category. In the BSP, 77 per cent of the candidates are crorepatis.

The average asset value of contesting candidates is Rs 2.10 crore.

Other facts put forth by the analysis are that graduate and above is the most common educational qualification, while the greatest number of candidates fall in the 25-40 years age group. Only 10 per cent of the total candidates are women.

ADR has been recommending that the Supreme Court of India “should reprimand political parties and politicians for their complete lack of will, reprehensible predilection and absence of required laws”. It has also suggested that such candidates who are convicted of heinous crimes like murder, rape, smuggling, dacoity and kidnapping must be permanently barred from contesting elections. ADR also demanded parties that field tainted candidates must not be given any tax exemptions and must also be de-registered and de-recognised.

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