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02.04.2021
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While the state of Tamil Nadu is in election fervor for the upcoming crucial assembly polls, the recent report has alarmed about the importance of knowing the candidates and their backgrounds before casting the votes. As the battle is between the ruling ADMK and the opposition DMK, both the parties have fielded more bigheads either with the background of money or with criminal cases to win the race, which has become another fashion of clash between the rivals on who has more criminal cases. 

An analysis done by the electoral and political watchdog Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) has shockingly revealed that scores of the candidates of the major parties in Tamil Nadu are carrying criminal cases against them. The analysis has shown that 13% of the candidates in the 2021 polls in the state have criminal cases pending against them and 6% of the candidates are facing serious criminal charges. 

Tamil Nadu will go to the single-phase poll on April 6 and a total of 3,998 candidates are contesting in the election for 234 assembly seats. Of the 3,998 candidates, ADR had analyzed the affidavits of 3,559 candidates, which is around 90%. The watchdog has said that it couldn't able to analyze the affidavits of ten candidates from DMK, 23 from Makkal Needhi Maiam, 30 from Naam Tamilar Katchi, and 59 from the AMMK as the affidavits of these candidates weren't uploaded on the Election Commission of India's website at the time of the analyzing drive. 

In a total of 3,559 analyzed candidates, 13% of them - 466 candidates have declared criminal cases against them, and of these 466 candidates, 350 belong to the major parties. According to ADR, a total of 136 of the 178 (76%) candidates contesting in DMK's Rising Sun symbol have criminal cases, the highest in the state. As the candidates from DMK have more criminal cases, BJP falls second after the state opposition party as the Central ruling party has 15 candidates of its 20 candidates facing criminal charges, that's 75% of them.  

While 50 DMK candidates (28% of the total) face serious charges, the BJP has eight such candidates (40%). On the other hand, a total of 191 candidates will be contesting in the ADMK's Two Leaves symbol, and among the 191 candidates, 46 of them (24%) have criminal cases, of which 18 (9%) face serious charges. The report had shown that both the ADMK and DMK are in the position that they can't convince the voters when it comes to the promises of reducing crime in the state. 

Apart from the ADMK and DMK, 71% of the candidates from the Congress party face criminal charges, 44% from the PMK, 30% from the DMDK, 29% from the AMMK, 15% from the MNM, and 14% from the Naam Tamilar Katchi are facing criminal charges. The ADR analysis had also examined the asset values of the candidates and the report has revealed that 18% of the candidates have assets over a crore. ADR has highlighted that 652 of the 3,559 candidates are worth over a crore and of them, nearly 50% are from the ADMK and DMK in the total number of the candidates.

On the grounds of the candidates of the party, 87% of the DMK's candidates and 86% of the ADMK's candidates have declared that they have assets over a crore. Apart from the ADMK and DMK, 91% of the candidates of the Congress party are worth over a crore, 75% of the candidates of BJP, 63% of the AMMK, 61% of the PMK, 33% of the MNM, 32% of the DMDK, and 13% of the Naam Tamilar Katchi are worth over a crore. As per the analysis, the average worth of assets of each candidate is Rs 1.72 crore. 

The analysis had shockingly revealed that the ballots in Tamil Nadu would have the candidates with the criminal charges and it has come despite the Supreme Court's advice in February 2020 to the political parties to furnish reasons on why they are awarding tickets to the people who are facing criminal charges. The ADR's report was released by Madras High Court Advocate Suresh and the activists had demanded to frame the norms to curb the candidates with the criminal cases from contesting in the elections. The report has come when Tamil Nadu is four days ahead of the assembly polls. The state will go to the single-phase poll on April 6 and the votes will be counted on May 2, during which the results will be announced. 

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