Source: 
Author: 
Joydeep Sen Gupta
Date: 
21.10.2020
City: 

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-profit organisation that is involved in electoral reforms, has found that out of 1,064 candidates analysed for the upcoming three-phase Bihar assembly polls, 328, or 31%, of them have declared criminal cases against themselves.

Of these 328 candidates, 244, or 23%, have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

“Among the major parties, 30 (73%) out of the 41 candidates analysed from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), 21 (72%) out of the 29 candidates from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 24 (59%) out of the 41 candidates from the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), 12 (57%) out of the 21 candidates from the Indian National Congress (INC), 15 (43%) out of the 35 candidates from the Janata Dal (United) and eight (31%) out of the 26 candidates from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits,” ADR said in its report.

There is a separate category for serious criminal cases against candidates in the ADR report.

“Data showed that 22 (54%) out of the 41 candidates analysed from the RJD, 20 (49%) out of the 41 candidates from the LJP, 13 (45%) out of the 29 candidates from the BJP, nine (43%) out of the 21 candidates from the INC, 10 (29%) out of the 35 candidates from the JD (U) and five (19%) out of the 26 candidates from the BSP have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits,” the report stated.

Besides, 29 candidates have declared cases related to crime against women.

Out of these 29 candidates, three have declared cases related to rape and have been booked under sections 375 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). While 21 candidates have declared cases related to murder and have been booked under section 302 of the IPC.

ADR has also pointed out that 61 of the 71 seats going to polls in the first phase on October 28 as “red alert constituencies”, where three or more candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

“The directions of the Supreme Court (SC) have had no effect on the political parties in selection of candidates, as they have again followed their old practice of distributing tickets to around 31% of the candidates with criminal cases,” the report said.

“The SC on February 13 had specifically instructed political parties to give reasons for such selection and why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates. As per these mandatory guidelines, the reasons for such selection have to be with reference to qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned. Such unfounded and baseless reasons given by political parties such as popularity of the person, is involved in social work and the cases cited are politically motivated etc are not sound and cogent reasons for fielding candidates with tainted background,” the report added.

The three-phase polls for the 243-member Bihar legislative assembly will be held on October 28, November 3 and 7. The results will be declared on November 10.

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