News Drum
NewsDrum Desk
New Delhi

Out of the 1,710 candidates contesting in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha polls, 21 per cent have declared criminal cases against themselves and 24 candidates have declared zero assets, as per the Association for Democratic Reforms report.  The ADR and The National Election Watch analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 1710 out of 1717 candidates, who are contesting in the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Phase IV on May 13.

A total of 360 candidates have declared criminal cases against them. Emphasising the disparities amongst the financial backgrounds of the candidates the richest candidate in the fray is Dr Chandra Sekhar Pemmasani of Telugu Desam Party with assets over Rs. 5,700 crore.

Among the 360 candidates (21 per cent) with criminal cases, 17 candidates were convicted, 11 declared cases related to murder, 30 face charges of attempted murder and 50 candidates have criminal cases related to crimes against women, with 5 candidates facing charges of rape, the data showed.  The ADR findings also shed light on the distribution of candidates with criminal backgrounds across major political parties.  Among the major parties, 3 out of 3 candidates from AIMIM, 2 out of 3 candidates from Shiv Sena, 10 out of 17 candidates from BRS, 35 out of 61 candidates from Congress, 40 out of 70 candidates from BJP, 9 out of 17 candidates from TDP, 2 out of 4 candidates from BJD, 2 out of 4 candidates from RJD, 2 out of 4 candidates from Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), 12 out of 25 candidates from YSRCP, 3 out of 8 candidates from All India Trinamool Congress and 7 out of 19 candidates from Samajwadi Party have declared criminal cases against themselves.

In addition to criminal disclosures, the ADR report also highlights significant diversity among the candidates' financial backgrounds.

A total of 476 candidates out of 1710 are “crorepatis”, with assets exceeding Rs. 1 crore, with Dr Pemmasani being the richest. While 24 candidates declared zero assets, the report showed.

In response to these findings, the ADR has proposed a series of reforms aimed at curbing the criminalization of politics.

These include permanent disqualification of candidates convicted of serious crimes, bringing political parties under the Right to Information Act, and implementing stricter penalties for candidates providing false information on election affidavits.

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