Times of India
Neha Shukla

Political parties might be criticising each other for fielding criminal candidates, but the fact is that none of them is clean. The BJP and Congress have equal number of criminal candidates, which they have fielded in the UP assembly election 2012.

However, the Congress scores as the percentage of criminal candidates is higher for it. For the upcoming election, various political parties have released their first list of candidates.

A brief analysis of financial and criminal backgrounds of re-contesting candidates in the upcoming election has been carried out by the UP Election Watch and National Elections Watch. The candidates declared till January 4 have been analysed.

As the ruling BSP is yet to release its official list, the analysis does not include BSP MLAs. Other parties have released their first list. BJP has declared 220 candidates, Congress 215, SP 165 and RLD has declared 17 candidates for the UP 2012 election.

And all the parties have fielded candidates with criminal records. While BJP and Congress lists each contain 26 such candidates, SP and RLD lists contain 24 and one candidate respectively with criminal records (based on 2007 and subsequent affidavits). Out of the 617 candidates declared by the political parties to contest election in UP, 77 candidates have criminal records.

"This has been analysed on the basis of affidavits submitted by the candidates in earlier elections," said Anil Bairwal, national co-ordinator, National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms.

The election watch had found affidavits of 248 candidates submitted during earlier elections, either 2007 assembly election or 2009 Lok Sabha election with the Election Commission. To make matters worse, as many as 38 candidates have serious criminal cases like that of murder, attempt to murder, robbery, theft, kidnapping etc against them, as declared by them in their earlier affidavits. The Congress and BJP are again at par. Both have 13 candidates with serious criminal charges, in the fray this time.

The SP is close second with 12 tainted candidates. Out of 220 candidates declared by the BJP, election watch has found the affidavits of 91. Similarly, while Congress has declared 215 candidates, election watch analysed the affidavits of 75 candidates. While Congress has 35% candidates with criminal background and 17% candidates with serious criminal charges, the BJP has 28% criminal candidates and 14% with serious charges. The SP has 31% criminal candidates and 15% candidates with serious charges.

The RLD has 20% criminal candidates. In case of SP which has declared 165 candidates, 77 affidavits were analysed. And for RLD, the affidavits of five candidates out of the 17 declared ones were analysed. "We will analyse further, as parties declare more candidates," said Bairwal. Apart from candidates, election watch has also analysed the income tax returns filed by the parties in the fray.

The Congress has maximum income. The party's income has increased substantially in the last three years. In 2007-08, the party's income was Rs 220.81 crore, which more than doubled in 2009-10, to Rs 525.98 crore, after the formation of UPA-II. The BJP is the party which has received maximum donations. However, the amount has decreased in the recent years.

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