Hindustan Times
New Delhi

Delhi has the maximum percentage of legislators with criminal records among the five states going to polls in November-December, election watchdogs have claimed. 

Digging out information furnished in the affidavits filed before the returning officers in 2008, the National Election Watch (NEW) and Association for Democratic Reform (ADR) said 43% of the legislators in the Capital had criminal cases against them.

However, there was no information on how many cases had been decided. Many of the cases enlisted in the affidavits were not serious in nature; such as defacement of property (pasting posters, etc) or those registered for leading a protest.

Apart from Delhi, assembly elections will be held in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Mizoram.

In all the five states, 13% of the contesting candidates (879 out of 6870 candidates) had declared pending criminal cases in their poll papers during the 2008 assembly elections. The percentage of candidates with serious criminal cases against them was 6%.

According to the analysis, Madhya Pradesh has highest the percentage - 11% - of MLAs with serious criminal cases followed by Delhi and Chhattisgarh with 9%. Mizoram, with 7%, has the lowest percentage of MLAs with criminal cases among the five states.

In terms of party affiliation, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had given tickets to 35% candidates with criminal cases in Delhi while 22% tainted candidates were given tickets in the 2008 Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections. The Congress had fielded 30% tainted candidates in Delhi and 31% in Madhya Pradesh.

The analysis of the affidavits revealed that Delhi has the highest percentage - 69% - of MLAs whose assets are in crores followed by Rajasthan with 46% and Madhya Pradesh with 38%.

The representation of women still remains dismal across five states. Of the 7,520 candidates who contested the 2008 assembly elections in the five states, only 8% were women. The lowest percentage of women candidates were fielded in Mizoram (4%), while Delhi and Chhattisgarh states had 9% women candidates -- highest among the five states.

Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel said several MLAs have "political cases" - ones registered during demonstrations and protests - against them and these are not considered when candidates are shortlisted.

"Otherwise, it will be our conscious effort to ensure aspirants with criminal record do not get tickets," Goel said.

Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Jai Prakash Agarwal said, "The selection of candidates is done by the party's election committee. The party ensures that people with criminal background do not get tickets."

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