The Week

All the major political parties have fielded candidates with criminal records for the first phase of polls in Uttar Pradesh, according to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms. 

The worst offender is the Samajwadi Party in which 21 of the 28 candidates analysed have criminal cases against them. Of these, 61 per cent have serious charges against them. 

The Rashtriya Lok Dal, an alliance partner of the SP, has 59 per cent candidates with criminal cases, followed by the Bhartiya Janata Party where 51 per cent of the candidates have criminal cases. The Congress has 36 per cent candidates with a criminal background while 34 per cent candidates in the Bahujan Samaj Party and 15 per cent candidates in the Aam Aadmi Party are tainted. 

Of the candidates with criminal backgrounds, 12 have cases of crimes against women registered in their names, with one candidate having a rape case to his name. Six candidates face murder cases while 30 have cases of attempt to murder against them. 

The ADR analysis points out that the directions of the Supreme Court that the political parties should give reasons for selection of candidates with criminal cases and why individuals without criminal antecedents could not have been given tickets have been flouted by all parties. 

On January 8, 2022, while announcing the schedule for Assembly polls, the Election Commission had also instructed political parties to display on their social media home pages the names of candidates with criminal charges who had been given tickets. It had also advised that ‘winnability’ should not be a criteria for selection of such candidates.

The ADR analysis points out that political parties “have again followed their old practice of giving tickets to around 25 per cent candidates with criminal cases. All major parties contesting in Uttar Pradesh phase I elections have given tickets to 15 - 75 per cent candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves”. 

Polling for the first phase of elections in UP will take place on February 10.

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