NEW DELHI: Nearly 21 per cent, or 151 out of 670, candidates contesting in the sixth phase of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections face serious criminal cases such as rape and murder, according to an Association for Democratic Reform (ADR) report based on an analysis of their poll affidavits.
Of these, the Samajwadi Party (SP) has fielded the highest number of candidates with criminal charges.
Among the major political parties, 29 (60%) out of 48 candidates are from SP, 20 (39%) out of 52 from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 20 (36%) out of 52 from the Congress, 18 (32%) out of 57 from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and five (10%) out of 51 the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
According to the report, two candidates face rape charges, eight face murder charges and 23 face ‘attempt to murder’ charges.
The ADR report also found that 182 (27%) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves, of which, 40 (83%) out of 48 candidates are from SP, 23 (44%) out of 52 are from BJP, 39% out of 52 are from Congress, 22 (39%) out of 57 are from BSP and seven (14%) out of 51 are from AAP.
Thirty-seven (65%) out of 57 constituencies going into polls on March 3 are ‘red alert’ constituencies. A ‘red alert’ constituency is one where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases.
In February 2020, the Supreme Court directed political parties to justify giving tickets to candidates with criminal backgrounds, and why others without a criminal record could not be chosen.
The ADR report further noted that the data it collected shows political parties have no interest in reforming the electoral system. “…our democracy will continue to suffer at the hands of lawbreakers who become lawmakers,” it said.
The report pointed out that assets of 253 out of the 670 candidates are worth more than 1 crore. The average value of assets per candidate contesting in the sixth phase is ₹2.10 crore.
Among the major parties, 45 (94%) out of 48 candidates analysed from SP, 42 (81%) out of 52 candidates from BJP, 44 (77%) out of 57 candidates from BSP, 26 (46%) out of 56 candidates from Congress and 14 (28%) out of 51 candidates from AAP have declared assets valued more than ₹1 crore.