East Mojo

More than half the candidates contesting the 2022 Manipur Assembly elections are crorepatis.

This was stated in a report prepared by Manipur Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), who have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 173 candidates, who are contesting in the Manipur Assembly Elections Phase I. The report was released on Friday.

Out of 173 candidates in the fray, 91 (53%) 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. Among the major parties, 21 (78%) out of 27 candidates analysed from NPP, 27 (71%) out of 38 candidates analysed from BJP, 18 (51%) out of 35 candidates analysed from INC and 14 (50%) out of 28 candidates analysed from JD(U) have declared assets valued more than Rs 1 crore,” the report said.

The average assets per candidate contesting in the Manipur Assembly Elections 2022 in Phase I is Rs 2.51 crore.

The richest of them all is Independent candidate Sapam Nishikant Singh from Keisamthong constituency in Imphal West, with total declared assets of more than Rs 29 crore. NCP candidate Ningthoujam Popilal Singh from Sekmai (Sc) constituency has declared zero assets in his self sworn affidavit.

The directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties in selection of candidates in Phase I of the Manipur Assembly Elections as they have again followed their old practice of giving tickets to around 21% candidates with criminal cases. All major parties contesting in Manipur phase I elections have given tickets to 11% to 29% candidates with declared criminal cases against them.

Out of 173 candidates analyzed, 37 (21%) candidates have declared criminal cases against them and 27 (16%) have declared serious 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,” the report said.

As per these mandatory guidelines, the reason for such selection has to be with reference to qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned.

During the recent 6 State Assembly elections held in 2020-21, 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,” the report said.

On the education background, 37 (21%) candidates have declared their educational qualifications to be between 5th and 12th standard, while 133 (77%) candidates have declared having educational qualification of graduate or above. Three candidates are Diploma holders.

On female participation, only 15 (9%) female candidates will be contesting in the Manipur Assembly Election 2022 Phase I.

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