The asian age

An analysis of the track record of newly-elected representatives of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly shows that the number of elected representatives with criminal records has gone up as compared to the last time.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has analysed the track records of the newly-elected MLAs of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and has found that out of the 288 MLAs, 165 (57 per cent) have declared criminal cases against themselves, while out of the 262 MLAs analysed during the Assembly elections in 2009, 136 (52 per cent) had declared criminal cases against themselves. MLAs have declared serious cases, including cases related to murder, attempt to murder, communal disharmony, kidnapping, crimes against women etc. Out of the 165 MLAs who have declared pending criminal cases against themselves, 51 (31 per cent) have declared that the charges for these cases have already been framed by the court of law.

The analysis, which was done on the basis of self-sworn affidavits filed by the candidates, says that 74 MLAs (61 per cent) out of 122 MLAs from BJP, 48 MLAs (76 per cent) out of 63 MLAs from Shiv Sena, 15 (36 per cent) out of 42 MLAs from Congress and 19 (46 per cent) out of 41 from NCP MLAs have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

Going further into the affidavits, ADR also found that three MLAs have declared cases related to murder, out of which two are from the BJP and one is from Shiv Sena. 15 MLAs have declared cases of attempt to murder, out of which five MLAs are from BJP, two from NCP, seven from Shiv Sena and one is an Independent MLA.

Eleven MLAs have declared cases related to crimes against women, out of these, five are from BJP and six from Shiv Sena. Eight MLAs have declared cases related to assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty under the Section 354 of IPC.

So far as the MLAs of Mumbai are concerned, 22 (61 per cent) out of 36 have criminal records and 13 (36 per cent) out of 36 have serious criminal records.

A study on the wealth report of the winning candidates also points out that average assets of the MLAs compared to the last Assembly has gone up from Rs 4.99 crore in 2009 to Rs 10.87 crore. With respect to education, 126 (44 per cent) MLAs are Class 12 pass or below, while 154 (53 per cent) MLAs have declared being graduates or more.

Sharad Kumar, state coordinator of ADR, said that the main reason why criminal candidates have been winning is because they have been working and hence are popular.

“They are seasoned politicians, hence the chances of winning always goes up. Party leaders must ensure that these criminal MLAs are not given ministerial berths in the Cabinet and we are planning to write a letter to highlight the issue.”

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