The Hindu

More than one-third of the candidates elected in the just concluded Assembly polls in five States have criminal cases registered against them, with Uttar Pradesh topping the list.

Thirty Five per cent or 252 of the 690 MLAs elected to the five Assemblies — Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa — have criminal background, a rise of eight per cent from 2007.

Also, 66 per cent or 457 of the newly elected MLAs are ‘crorepatis,' according to an analysis of affidavits the candidates had submitted to the Election Commission.

The analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch also shows that compared to 2007 Assembly elections, there is over 32 per cent increase in the number of crorepati MLAs winning.

In 2007, voters in these five States had chosen about 190 or 27 per cent MLAs with criminal past, while more than 235 or 34 per cent of candidates having assets worth more than Rs. 1 crore were elected to the Assemblies.

According to the analysis, a total of 189 (47 per cent) new MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly have declared criminal cases against them, compared to 140 (34 per cent) in the 2007 Assembly.

Similarly, 271 or 67 per cent new MLAs in the State are crorepatis, compared to 124 crorepati MLAs elected in 2007.

While Samajwadi Party's Mitra Sen, who won from Bikapur, topped the list of tainted MLAs with 36 criminal cases, Nawab Kazim Ali Khan of Congress from Suar constituency topped the rich list, with a declared total assets worth Rs. 56.89 crore, followed by Shah Alam of BSP from Mubarakpur with assets worth Rs. 54.44 crore.

Manipur is the only State where not a single elected candidate declared any pending criminal cases against him or her.

However, the new Assembly witnessed a sharp rise among wealthy MLAs, with 16 have declared assets worth more than Rs. 1 crore. In 2007 Assembly, there was only one MLA who was a crorepati.

In Punjab, 22 candidates with a criminal past won the elections. It was 21 in the 2007 Assembly.

As far as money power is concerned, more than 86 per cent of the candidates fared well in the State, with 101 corepatis getting elected to the 117-member Assembly this time. There were 77 (66 per cent) crorepatis in the 2007 Assembly.

In Uttarakhand, 19 (22 per cent) new MLAs have criminal cases against them, while 32 (46 per cent) crorepatis managed to enter the new Assembly. Their figures in 2007, were 17 and 12 respectively. 

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