Mid Day
Surender Sharma
New Delhi

A survey says 132 MLAs in Maharashtra Assembly have criminal backgrounds; the Haryana Assembly has 28 of them. As the two states go to polls again, will these tainted leaders continue to call the shots?

Poor no more! Our netas are rich in both criminal muscle and money.

While Mumbai topped the list of MLAs with criminal backgrounds elected to the state Assembly in 2004, Haryana sent the maximum crorepatis to the House.

Figures from a national survey by National Election Watch (NEW) suggest that despite years of electoral reforms, money and muscle power rule the poll arena.

Neta or goon?

Maharashtra elected 132 MLAs with criminal past for the 288-member Assembly while Haryana sent 28 members with police records to the 90-member House.

However, in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh only three out of those 60 elected had criminal records.

These states are going to polls again on October 13.

The data is based on affidavits filed by the candidates in the Assembly elections of 2004.

Former super cop and a member of NEW committee, Julio Ribeiro, said, "The presence of such a large number of MLAs in Maharashtra and other states with pending criminal records is a matter of shame for political parties.

People need honest candidates and parties must come forward to stem the rot."

Money matters

Meanwhile, when it comes to money, Haryana tops the chart.

Data collected by the election watch shows that 52.22 per cent of the MLAs in Haryana Assembly have assets worth crores, followed by 37.50 per cent such legislators in Maharashtra and 28.33 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh.

Anil Bairwal, national coordinator, Association for Democratic Reforms and NEW said, "Like advanced democracies, we need stringent laws to regulate political parties."

Women in power

The number of female lawmakers in the three state assemblies remain dismally low.

While there are no women legislators in Arunachal, only four per cent from the fairer sex made it to the Maharashtra Assembly. While 12 per cent of MLAs in Haryana are women.

MLAs with criminal past


MS Sachhidanang - 22 cases

DD Bhuse - 17 cases

Arun Gulab Bawali - 3 cases


OP Jindal - 1 case

Bharat Singh - 7 cases

Randeep Singh - 9 cases

Crorepati Netas


Suresh K Bhikamchand - Rs 26 cr

Ashokrao Shankarrao - Rs 11 cr


OP Jindal - Rs 26 cr

Bhajan Lal - Rs 7 cr

OP Chautala - Rs 6 cr

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