Hindustan Times
New Delhi

As many as 103 or 17% of the 623 candidates contesting the third phase of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections face serious criminal cases such as rape and murder, according to an Association for Democratic Reform (ADR) report based on an analysis of their poll affidavits. ADR found 135 (22%) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves

Twenty six (44%) of 59 constituencies going to the polls across 16 districts in the third phase on February 20 are “Red Alert” with three or more contesting candidates facing criminal cases. ADR two candidates face rape and as many murder charges.

Among the major parties, 21 (36%) of 58 Samajwadi Party (SP), 20 (36%) of 55 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominees, 18 (31%) of 59 Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), 10 (18%) of 56 Congress and 11 (22%) of 49 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) face serious criminal cases. Thirty (52%) SP, 25 (46%) BJP, 23 (39%) BSP, 20 (36%) Congress and 11 (22%) of AAP candidates have criminal cases pending against them.

In February 2020, the Supreme Court directed political parties to give reasons for giving tickets to candidates with criminal backgrounds and why other individuals without them could not be chosen as candidates.

The ADR report noted the data it has collected shows political parties have no interest in reforming the electoral system. “...our democracy will continue to suffer at the hands of lawbreakers who become lawmakers.”

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