Hindustan Times
New Delhi

A report released by the Association for Democratic Reform (ADR) has revealed that 129, or 21%, of the 621 candidates contesting in the fourth phase of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections face serious criminal cases such as rape and murder.

The ADR report, based on an analysis of poll affidavits, found that 167 (27%) of the candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

Twenty-nine (49%) out of 59 constituencies going into polls in the fourth phase on February 23 are “red alert” constituencies. Red alert constituencies are those where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

According to the report, two candidates face rape charges, five face murder charges and 11 face ‘attempt to murder’ charges.

Among the major parties, 22 (38%) of 58 candidates from Congress, 22 (39%) of 55 Samajwadi Party (SP) nominees, 22 (37%) of 59 Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), 17 (30%) of 57 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and nine (20%) of 45 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) contestants face serious criminal charges.

In February 2020, the Supreme Court directed political parties to justify giving tickets to candidates with criminal backgrounds, and why others without a criminal record could not be chosen.

The ADR report also noted that 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.”

The report also showed that of the 621 candidates, 231 (37%) are worth crores of rupees. Among the major parties, 50 (88%) out of 57 candidates from BJP, 48 (84%) of 57 candidates from SP, 44 (75%) out of 59 BSP candidates, 28 (48%) of 58 candidates of Congress, and 16 (36%) out of 45 AAP candidates have declared assets valued more than 1 crore.

While AAP candidate Rajiv Bakshi, who is contesting from Lucknow, has declared the highest assets worth 56.6 crore, AAP candidate Vijay Kumar from Khaga constituency has declared zero assets in his self-sworn affidavit.

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