Source: 
Bhaskar Live
https://bhaskarlive.in/chhattisgarh-poll-26-out-of-223-candidates-in-1st-phase-have-criminal-cases-says-report/
Author: 
IANS
Date: 
27.10.2023
City: 
New Delhi

For the first phase of poll on 20 Assembly seats in Chhattisgarh, at least 26 candidates out of 223 candidates analysed have criminal records against them, a report said, adding that the maximum — five candidates — are from the BJP.

The report was published by the Chhattisgarh Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) which analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 223 candidates, who are

The report said, “Out of 223 candidates analyzed, 26 (12 per cent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.”

It said that 16 (7 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

The report highlighted that among the major parties, 5 (25 per cent) out of 20 candidates analysed from BJP,two (10 per cent) out of 20 candidates analysed from Congress, three (20 per cent) out of 15 candidates analysed from Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J) and four (40 per cent) out of 10 candidates analysed from AAP have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

It also said that among the major parties, four (20 per cent) out of 20 candidates analysed from BJP, two (13 per cent) out of 15 candidates analysed from Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J)and one (10 per cent) out of 10 candidates analysed from AAP have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

It also said that five (25 per cent) out of 20 constituencies are red alert constituencies.

Red alert constituencies are those where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

It further said that the directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties in selection of candidates in the Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections Phase 1 as they have again followed their old practice of giving tickets to around 12 per cent candidates with criminal cases.

It said that all major parties contesting in Chhattisgarh Elections Phase 1 have given tickets from 10 per cent to 40 per cent candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves. The Supreme Court in its directions dated February 13, 2020 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 has to be with reference to qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned. During the recent four state Assembly elections held in 2023, it was observed that political parties gave unfounded and baseless reasons like popularity of the person, does good social work, cases are politically motivated, etc.

These are not sound and cogent reasons for fielding candidates with tainted backgrounds. This data clearly shows that political parties have no interest in reforming the electoral system and our democracy will continue to suffer at the hands of lawbreakers who become lawmakers, it added.

The report also stated that out of the 223 candidates, 46 (21 per cent) are crorepatis.

“The role of money power in our elections is evident from the fact that all major political parties give tickets to wealthy candidates,” it said.

Among the major parties 17 (85 per cent) out of 20 candidates analysed from Congress, 14 (70 per cent) out of 20 candidates analysed from BJP, three (30 per cent) out of 10 candidates analysed from AAP and two (13 per cent) out of 15 candidates analysed from Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J) have declared assets valued more than Rs one crore.

The average of assets per candidate contesting in the Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections 2023 Phase I is Rs 1.34 crore.

“Among major parties, the average assets per candidate for 20 BJP candidates analysed is Rs 5.33 crore, 20 Congress candidates analysed is Rs 5.27 crore, 10 AAP candidates have average assets of Rs 4.45 crore and 15 Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J) candidates have average assets worth Rs 30.54 lakh.

The report said AAP’s Khadgraj Singh, who is a candidate fromthe Kawardha Assembly seat, has assets worth Rs 40 crore. He is followed by Bhawna Bohra of the BJP from Pandariya Assembly seat with Rs 33.8 crore assets.

There are two candidates who have declared zero assets in their affidavits.

It said that Parwati Teta of the Azad Janata Party from Kanker (ST) seat and Nagesh Puram of Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J) from Mohla-Manpur (St) have declared zero assets.

The report said 106 (48 per cent) candidates have declared liabilities in their affidavits.

BJP’s Bhawna Bohra has liabilities worth Rs 6 crore while BJP’s Vikrant Singh ,who is contesting fromKhairagarh, has liabilities worth Rs 4 crore.

Polling for 20 Assembly seats is scheduled on November 7 while the rest of the 70 seats will go to polls on November 17. Counting of votes will take place on December 3.

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