Herald Goa

Association For Democratic Reforms pointed out to massive anomalies between the sworn affidavits of candidates and their I-T returns. ADR said it will take up to 100 years to earn the kind of money declared in affidavits by candidates, when their income is juxtaposed with the assets.  

ADR said it was the responsibility of the returning officers and then the CEO to check or tally the candidates’ affidavits with their I-T returns, since it constitutes gross misinformation to the public and it does not create a level playing field for other candidates.

An analysis of the financial affidavits of candidates reveals that out of the 301 candidates, 187 (62%) are crorepatis. In 2017 Goa Assembly Elections, out of 251 candidates, 156 (62%) were crorepatis. According to the report, the of top three  candidates with highest declared assets, contesting in the Goa Assembly elections include, Delilah and Michael Lobo with total assets of Rs 92.91 crore and Dr Chandrakant Shetye with total assets of Rs 59.63 crore. A total of 2 (1%) candidates have not declared their PAN details.

ADR also claimed that the directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties in selection of candidates as they have again followed their old practice of giving tickets to around 26 per cent candidates with criminal cases. 

Out of 301 candidates, 77 (26%) have declared criminal cases against themselves. In 2017, out of 251 candidates, 38 (15%) had declared criminal cases against themselves. Candidates who are facing serious criminal cases are 53 which is 18% of the candidates and a rise of nearly ten per cent since the last Assembly elections. In 2017 Goa Assembly elections 19 (8%) candidates had 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. 

Assoldekar said, “Out of the 40 constituencies in the State 12, nearly 30 per cent are Red alert constituencies. This is the highest in the country and beats all States. Red alert constituencies are those where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.”

The report further stated that the role of money power in elections is evident from the fact that all major political parties give tickets to wealthy candidates. Among the major parties 38 (95%) out of 40 candidates from BJP, 32 (87%) out of 37 candidates from INC, 9 (69%) out of 13 candidates from MGP, 17 (65%) out of 26 candidates from AITC, 2 (67%) out of 3 candidates from GFP, 24 (62%) out of 39 candidates from AAP and 8 (62%) out of 13 candidates from NCP have declared assets valued more than Rs 1 crore.

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