Times of India

While the state is going to polls to seek fresh mandate from people, it is interesting to note that 143 'tainted' representatives with pending criminal cases had managed to gain entry to the UP Vidhan Sabha in 2007 assembly elections.

According to the details compiled by the Uttar Pradesh Election Watch (UPEW) and National Election Watch (NEW), 143 out of 403 MLAs in 2007 assembly had pending criminal cases against them and 76 out of them had serious criminal cases pending. The NEW, a nationwide campaign comprising more than 1,200 NGO and other citizen-led organisations working on electoral reforms, improving democracy and governance in India, has been monitoring the election process.

Anil Bairwal, national coordinator of NEW and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), also informed that the 2007 Vidhan Sabha also had 127 'crorepati' MLAs. Such facts were gathered on the basis of affidavits submitted to the Election Commission of India. No MLA from Varanasi district was crorepati, though criminal cases were pending against some of them.

According to the details compiled on the basis of the affidavits, the MLAs with criminal cases belonged to almost all political parties including Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Indian National Congress (INC), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). The BSP had maximum number of such MLAs (73) followed by SP (35) and BJP (14). Similarly the BSP also had maximum number of crorepati MLAs (51) followed by SP (38) and BJP (16).

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