Almost all the political parties have fielded candidates with criminal cases pending, for the upcoming Goa Assembly elections, according to a report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR). Indian National Congress (INC), which is fighting polls in alliance with Goa Forward Party (GFP), has got a maximum of 46 per cent of candidates with a criminal background.
As many as 26 per cent of the 301 candidates who are contesting in the coming assembly elections in Goa have criminal cases against them, of which 18 per cent have serious criminal cases like rape, attempt to murder, etc.
The figure is higher than 15 per cent of the 251 candidates in 2017 assembly polls, says ADR.

The ADR has analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all the contest candidates across all 40 assembly seats. Goa is going to the polls on February 14.
“The directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties in a selection of candidates in the Goa Assembly Elections 2022 as they have
again followed their old practice of giving tickets to around 26% candidates with criminal cases,” ADR said.
“All major parties contesting in Goa elections have given tickets to 23 % to 46 % candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves,” it added further.
Among the major parties, 13 (35%) out of 37 candidates analysed from INC have declared criminal cases, while one out of three candidates has criminal cases.
The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, with 23 per cent (3 candidates out of 13) candidates with criminal cases, is contesting an election in alliance with Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress (TMC), who too has fielded 15 per cent that is four out of 26 candidates having criminal cases.
The ruling BJP contesting on all 40 seats has seven candidates with criminal cases.
Further, two (15%) out of 13 candidates analysed from NCP and 4 (10%) out of 39 candidates analysed from AAP have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
Further, 12 candidates have declared cases related to crime against women or one declared case related to rape (IPC Section-376).

Eight candidates are facing attempt to murder charges.
According to ADR, almost 30 per cent (12) out of 40 constituencies are Red alert constituencies. Red alert constituencies are where 3 or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
Further, ADR said that almost 67 per cent, that is, 187 contesting candidates are crorepatis. In 2017, 156 candidates were crorepatis.
“The role of money power in our elections is evident from the fact that all major political parties give tickets to wealthy candidates,” ADR said.
Among the major parties, 38(95%) out of 40 candidates analysed from BJP, 32(87%) out of 37 candidates analysed from INC, 9(69%) out of 13 candidates analysed from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak, 17(65%) out of 26 candidates analysed from AITC, 2(67%) out of 3 candidates analysed from Goa Forward Party, 24(62%) out of 39 candidates analysed from AAP and 8(62%) out of 13 candidates analysed from NCP have declared assets valued more than one crore. Former BJP minister and Congress Calangute candidate Michael Lobo, who was the richest MLA of the outgoing Goa legislative assembly, remains among the richest MLAs with assets worth upwards of ₹84.387 crores, with his total assets have nearly doubled from the ₹49.47 crore he was worth back in 2017.

His wife Delilah Lobo, the Congress candidate from the neighbouring Siolim constituency, has declared assets to the tune of ₹7.16 crore.
“In the five-year tenure of the current Assembly (2017-2022), as many as 24 MLAs have changed their parties, which is 60 per cent of the total strength of the House. It has never happened anywhere else in India. A clear reflection of utter disrespect to the mandate of voters. A callous approach to ethics and discipline overborne by uncontrolled greed at its worst,” the report stated.
It said the list of 24 MLAs does not include the names of Vishwajit Rane, Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte, who had resigned as Congress MLAs in 2017 and joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before contesting elections on its tickets.
The electoral battle for Goa has become multi-cornered with the entry of the TMC and aggressive campaigning by the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP.

So far, poll tie-ups have been forged between the regional MGP and the TMC and between the Congress and the GFP.
In the 2017 elections, the Congress had emerged as the single-largest party in Goa by winning 17 seats in the 40-member House, but could not come to power as the BJP, which bagged 13, allied with some independents and regional parties to form the government.

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