Times of India
Binay Singh

The Uttar Pradesh Election Watch ( UPEW) and National Election Watch (NEW) have found a total of 77 candidates with criminal records in the candidate lists issued by various political parties so far.

Talking to journalists here on Friday, Anil Bairwal, national coordinator of NEW and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), said that they analysed the first lists of candidates declared by the political parties and checked the records of their candidates with over 75,000 records that ADR and NEW have been accumulating since 2003.

The NEW, comprising more than 1,200 NGOs and other citizens-led organisations working on electoral reforms, improving democracy and governance in India, has been monitoring the candidates for 2012 UP assembly election declared by political parties.

According to him, a brief analysis of financial and criminal backgrounds of re-contesting candidates in the upcoming elections has been carried out. In the first lists of candidates of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC), Samajwadi Party (SP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) for 2012 assembly election contain 26, 26, 24 and 1 candidates respectively with criminal records (based on 2007 and subsequent affidavits). Till now 617 candidates have been declared by BJP, INC, SP and RLD for the assembly election.

The NEW has found affidavits of 248 candidates which they had submitted during earlier elections (2007 assembly elections and Lok Sabha 2009) to the Election Commission. He said that as per these records, 38 candidates have serious criminal cases, like murder, attempt to murder, robbery, theft and kidnapping against them, as declared by them in their earlier affidavits. This list of candidates with serious charges includes 13 candidates from BJP, 13 from INC and 12 candidates from SP.

Till now, 220 candidates have been declared by BJP, out of these NEW was able to find records of 91 candidates and 26 of them were found having criminal records.

Out of the 215 candidates declared by the INC, NEW was able to find 75 affidavits filed earlier out of which, 26 candidates have criminal charges and 13 candidates have serious criminal charges pending against them. For SP, out of 165 declared candidates, NEW found affidavits of 77 candidates filed by them in earlier elections and found that 24 of them have criminal background. For RLD, out of 17 candidates, NEW was able to analyse affidavits of only 5 candidates; out of which, only one candidate has a criminal background.

According to NEW records, among top five MLAs with maximum number of pending criminal cases, two belong to eastern UP - Sushil Kumar from Dhanapur and Mukhtar Ansari from Mau.

While Sushil Kumar faces 14 cases including 13 serious IPC cases, Mukhtar Ansari faces 13 cases including nine serious IPC cases. He said that the ADR and NEW had also launched a voter awareness campaign through automated calls/SMS for dissemination of information on criminal and financial background of candidates contesting the upcoming election. In this campaign, a recorded audio clip of Bollywood celebrity Amir Khan would be played making an appeal to voters to vote for clean candidates. People can register themselves for regular updates/alerts relating to assembly election by giving a miss call on 020-30590400.

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