The Assam Tribune
Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 17 – If election is a battle, everything is fair in it. At least the political parties of the State are bent on following the ‘adage’ discarding all their earlier vows of preventing criminalization of politics by giving tickets to candidates who have criminal cases pending against them.

A study done by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) shows that the first lists of candidates declared by the political parties have some names with past criminal records.

NEW has looked at the first list of candidates declared by AGP, AUDF, BJP, INC and CPI(M) for Assam and checked the records of these candidates with records that NEW has been gathering since 2003.

For BJP, out of the list of 110 declared candidates, NEW has been able to find affidavits for 13 candidates filed in previous elections, out of which two (approximately 2 per cent) candidates have been found to be having criminal backgrounds.

For Congress also, out of the list of 118 declared candidates, NEW has been able to find records of 73 candidates and it is found that two (approximately 2 per cent) of them have criminal backgrounds. Similarly, AGP has 2 out of 92 (approximately 2 per cent) candidates with pending criminal cases. The lists of AUDF and CPI (M), however, contain no candidate with pending criminal cases, shows the study.

Several of these criminal charges are of serious nature, like murder, criminal intimidation, assault, wrongful restraint, among others.

According to the study, out of 361 candidates, six have pending criminal cases based on affidavits submitted during the 2006 Assembly elections. The names of the candidates are Kulendra Daulagapu and Padma Mybongsaha of BJP, Ali Akbor Miah and Siddique Ahmed of Congress, and Pradip Hazarika and Sahidul Alam Choudhury of AGP, the report says.

Of these, four candidates — two of the Congress and one each of AGP and BJP — have serious criminal cases pending as per the same affidavits.

“Despite the loud statements by the political parties that criminalization should be rooted out of Indian politics, NEW has found that the lists of declared candidates for Assembly elections include candidates who have pending criminal cases,” Tasaduk Ariful Hussain, coordinator of the Assam Election Watch, said.

“The NEW team will continue to monitor the lists released by the political parties and will continue to pressurize them to live up to their promise of ridding the nation of corrupt and criminal leaders,” he added.

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