The discussions around the upcoming 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections had started making the rounds days before the actual election. While the Election Commission is about to announce the voting dates by the end of this month or early in 2017, one needs to focus on a few points to understand what the 2017 UP state assembly will look like.

Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party has recently released the first list of its candidates. Some of the 23 candidates have serious criminal cases registered against them. The list includes Atique Ahmed and Mukhtar Ansari’s brother, who is a criminal convict. 

This lends credence to the fears that nearly every party in the coming elections will have an increased number of tainted candidates.

The reason for this is quite clear – the inevitable race for power. Every political party knows that one can only fight fire with fire. As a result, UP’s 2017 assembly elections will see many such tainted faces.

‘Tainted’ Means a Guaranteed Win

The statistics in the last 10 years show that the chances of winning an election with a tainted candidate increases 2.37 times than a candidate without a criminal record or graft allegations. In the 2004 General Elections, the possibility of a corrupt person winning was 3 percent, which became 2.6 percent in 2014.

Let us take a look at the trend of using muscle and money power in elections in UP.

According to the data provided by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) in the year 2012, out of 403 legislators, 189 (47 percent) had pending criminal cases against them. Out of these, 98 MLAs (24 percent) had serious criminal cases against them. These cases included murder, attempt-to-murder, extortion, kidnapping, loot, robbery and other grievous crimes. 

of 403 legislators have pending criminal charges

In the outgoing assembly, the BJP leads with the most number of tainted candidates. According to ADR, 53.2 percent of the BJP MLAs, 49.6 percent of the SP MLAs, 46.4 percent the Congress MLAs, while 36.3 percent of the BSP MLAs have criminal cases against them.

UP Elections 2012 Statistics of MLAs with Criminal Cases:

<p>(DATA/Graphics Courtesy:
(DATA/Graphics Courtesy:

Now let's look at the figures of the 2007 assembly elections. Of the elected MLAs, 140 (35 percent) had pending criminal cases. Of these, 78 (19.35 percent) were serious criminal cases.

This means that the percentage of corrupt criminals has risen from 35 percent in 2007 to 47 percent in 2012. If this trend continues, the situation in the 2017 elections can be quite distressing.

The Power of Money in Elections

It is necessary to note that the financial power of a candidate is as important as his muscle power in order to win an election.

In 2012, 271 of 403 MLAs (67 percent) who won in the UP elections were millionaires. The number of millionaires in 2007 was 124 (30.77 percent). Clearly, the number of millionaire legislators has doubled in these five years.

of 403 legislators are millionaires

UP Elections 2012 Statistics of Assets Possessed by MLAs:

(DATA/Graphics Courtesy:
(DATA/Graphics Courtesy:

In terms of the state's major political parties, the most number of elected millionaires in the last assembly elections were from the BSP. In the outgoing assembly, 78.8 percent of the BSP members, 68.1 percent of the BJP members, 64.3 percent of the the Congress members and 62.5 percent of the SP’s members are millionaires.

Overall, if the trend of using muscle and money power continues in UP, the search for clean politics and a party with a new face will remain a far cry.

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