PATNA: If the data released by the Bihar Election Watch (BEW), an affiliated body of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), on Sunday are anything to go by, all three leading political parties in the state – RJD, JD(U) and BJP – fielded candidates with criminal charges in the parliamentary and assembly elections since 2004.

As per the BEW data, all the elected MPs of RJD in 2014 had declared criminal charges against them, while 64% of the elected BJP MPs were in the same category. The JD (U) had accounted for 50% of elected MPs with criminal charges. The RJD had won four Lok Sabha seats in 2014, BJP 22 and the JD (U) two.

The RJD’s share of elected MPs with criminal charges was 50% in 2009 and 46% in 2004. The share of such MPs of BJP, on the other hand, was 50% in 2009 and 60% in 2004. The corresponding figures for the JD (U) were 39% and 17%. 

“When we say criminal charges, we also mean heinous crimes like murder, attempt to murder, rape and kidnapping. Our appeal to the political parties is that they should stop fielding candidates with criminal charges against him or her,” BEW coordinator Rajiv Kumar said. Other BEW functionaries, including Patna high court lawyer and social activist Prabhakar Kumar and retired professor Rohitasva Dubey were also present.

The BJP had faulted in putting up clean politicians in the assembly elections in state in 2005, 2010 and 2015, as the percentage of its elected MLAs facing criminal charges was relatively higher than the two other parties – the RJD and JD (U).

As many as 59% of the elected MLAs of the BJP had declared criminal charges against them in 2005, followed by 60% in 2010 and 64% in 2015. The corresponding figures for RJD were 41%, 65% and 57% and JD (U) 41%, 52% and 52%.

Asked to explain why do people vote for candidates with criminal charges, Prabhakar said, “Voters perhaps believe that only such elected representatives can give them protection in dire situations. The syndrome also suggests that the civil and administrative wings of the bureaucracy are not giving proper protection to the people.”

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