East Mojo

There seems to be no dearth of millionaires fighting elections in Manipur.

Similar to candidates fighting elections in the first phase with money power, in the second phase, out of the 92 candidates, 52 (57%) are crorepatis.

This is according to the Manipur Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) which have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 92 candidates, who are contesting in the Manipur Assembly Elections Phase II in 22 constituencies. The report was released yesterday.

In the first phase, out of the 173 candidates, 91 (53%) are crorepatis.

If Sapam Nishikant Singh fighting as an Independent in the first phase had total assets of more than Rs 29 crore, he has been overtaken by Alfred Kanngam S. Arthur of the Congress in the second phase with total assets of more than Rs 51 crore.

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

Among the major parties 8 (80%) out of 10 candidates analysed from NPF, 12(67%) out of 18 candidates analysed from INC, 14 (64%) out of 22 candidates analysed from BJP, 6 (55%) out of 11 candidates analysed from NPP and 5(50%) out of 10 candidates analysed from JD(U) have declared assets valued more than Rs 1 crore.

As regards criminal background, out of 92 candidates analyzed, 16 (17%) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves, while 14 (15%) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves. On the gender details of candidates, only 2 (2%) female candidates are contesting in Phase 2 of the Manipur assembly election 2022.

“The directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties in selection of candidates in Phase II of the Manipur Assembly Elections as
they have again followed their old practice of giving tickets to around 17% candidates with criminal cases. All major parties contesting in Manipur phase II
elections have given tickets to 9 % to 40 % candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves,” the report said.

The report  further added that 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,” it said.

On the education background of candidates, 19 (21%) candidates have declared their educational qualifications to be between 8th and 12th standard, while 72 (78%)
candidates have declared having an educational qualification of graduate or above. One candidate is a diploma holder.

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