Despite the rhetoric promotion of people with a clean record, major political parties fielded candidates facing serious criminal cases. The recent reports by Uttar Pradesh Election Watch and Association For Democratic Reforms (ADR) have clarified the number of candidates who are charged with criminal cases.
The Election Watch had analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 402 out of 403 newly elected MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh 2017 Assembly Elections and had found that Out of the 402 MLAs analysed, 143 (36%) MLAs have declared criminal cases against themselves. 107 (26%) MLAs have declared serious criminal cases including cases related to attempt to murder, murder.
MLAs with serious criminal charges like murder: 8 MLAs have declared cases related to murder. They have legal proceedings under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code
MLAs with criminal charges like attempt to murder: 34 MLAs declared cases related to attempt to murder. They have been charged with Section 307 of Indian Penal Code.
MLAs with charges related to crime against women: 1 BJP MLA name Ashok Kumar Rana has declared cases related to crime against women such as assault to women with intent to outrage her modesty that comes under Section-354 of the Indian Penal Code.
Parties with MLAS with criminal cases: 11 (24%) out of 46 MLAs from Samajwadi Party have criminal cases against them. 83 (27%) out of 312 MLAs from Bharatiya Janata Party, 4 (21%) out of 19 MLAs from Bahujan Samaj Party, 1 (14%) out of 7 MLAs from Indian National Congress. 3 (100%) out of 3 independent MLAs have also declared serious criminal cases against them in their affidavits.
Besides, these criminal charges, the new lawmakers elected to the Uttar Pradesh assembly are multi-millionaires. The list of these crorepatis is headed by Ajay Pratap Singh from Bharatiya Janata Party, elected from Colonelganj constituency in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh. Ajay declared himself as a farmer, possesses properties over Rs 49 crore which includes 60 kgs of gold, seven vehicles, and six guns. Around 1,455 crorepatis contested the polls, and the results were declared on 11 February 2017.
More details can be read here.
The last decades have seen a disturbing trend of candidates with criminal backgrounds not only contesting but also winning elections. The candidates have a significant hustling power –local goons in their respective jurisdictions and are capable of threatening non-criminal candidates and in some cases alter the outcome of the elections by selectively changing the vote counts. It is hazardous to people with clear background have the least probability to win elections. The parties fielding candidates should have a stringent filter process which would only allow people with a clear background to contest the elections.