Odisha Diary
New Delhi

Odisha Election Watch - State Chapter of National Election Watch today urged the political parties not to give ticket to the people with criminal backgrounds, take a stand against misuse of money power, bribing voters and distribution of freebies and disclose the criteria for selection of the candidates.  A core team meeting of Odisha Election Watch held today under the chairmanship of Mr. Sahadev Sahu, Former Chief Secretary, Government of Odisha. The meeting appealed the political parties to nominate their candidates, for the upcoming general election and assembly election 2014, who have a clean image, honest without criminal background and have instinct in public service. The meeting decided to take forward the “My Vote My Country” campaign in a massive way throughout the state at different level with a focused message “My Vote not for Sale”. It is further decided to appeal to the media houses to support the campaign. OEW would hold general public meetings, rallies, Jatha, Street Corner Plays, signature campaigns and massive awareness campaign using different audio visual and print materials.  OEW would conduct a weeklong focused campaign in Bhubaneswar Parliamentary constituency to increase voter’s turnout and to promote ethical voting told Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohanty, Coordinator, Odisha Election Watch.  Amongst others Sj. Amiya Bhusan Tripathy, Former DG Police,  Dr. Seba Mohapatra, former Director Health Services; Sj. Baikunthanath Panigrahi, Former Director, Doordarshan, Bhubaneswar;  Prof. Surjya Narayan Mishra; Prof. Prabir Pattnaik; social activists Sj. Khyamakar Swain; Mrs. Anuradha Biswal; Sj. Sitakanta Dash and Sj. Suchit Ranjan Singh also participated in the discussion.    Association for  Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch  undertook an analysis of 62847 candidates who have contested elections since 2004 for Parliament and State Assemblies all across India. Out of these 62847 candidates, 11063 (18%) candidates have declared criminal cases against them while 5253 (8%) candidates have serious criminal charges. 30% or 162 out of the total 543 MPs in the current Lok Sabha are facing criminal charges, while 76 face serious charges (Some politicians have pointed out that many charges are frivolous. However, there are many MPs with serious charges framed in a Court, and many with repeat offences as well). Moreover 1258 (31%)  MLAs are facing criminal charges across India. While 23% of those with serious criminal records won, only 12% of the candidates without criminal records won. Our analysis reveals that candidates who have used money power/muscle power are more likely to win which is not a healthy trend for our democracy and needs to be curbed. All the political parties without exception include such candidates and winners. The combination of money power and muscle power is also alarming where the average assets of candidates is Rs.1.37 crores, of winners is Rs.3.83 crores, of winners with a criminal record is Rs.4.31 crores and of winners with a serious criminal record is Rs.4.39 crores. - See more at:

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