Gujarat: AAP gives highest number of tickets to candidates with criminal record, BJP to crorepatis
New Delhi, Nov 24: The AAP, which is hoping to be an alternative force to the BJP in Gujarat, has fielded highest number of candidates with criminal background compared to the established parties like BJP and Congress which comes a close second.
Political watchdog Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), in its report, has said that the 32 (36 per cent ) out of 88 candidates from AAP has criminal background. In comparison, BJP has reduced such candidates to 16 per cent from 25 per cent in 2017 whereas 35 per cent out of 89 candidates analysed from INC have criminal background.
"Among the major parties, 32 (36 per cent ) out of 88 candidates analysed from AAP, 31 (35 per cent ) out of 89 candidates analysed from INC, 14 (16 per cent ) out of 89 candidates analysed from BJP and 4 (29 per cent ) out of 14 candidates analysed from Bhartiya Tribal Party have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits," it said in the statement.
The election watchdog has analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 788 candidates who are contesting in the first phase of Gujarat Assembly polls.
Have parties failed to take SC direction seriously?
The directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties in selection of candidates in the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly Elections as they have again followed their old practice of giving tickets to around 21 per cent candidates with criminal cases, the ADR noted. All major parties contesting elections have given tickets to 16 per cent to 36 per cent candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves.
The Supreme Court in its directions dated 13 February 2020 had specifically instructed political parties to give reasons for such selection and why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates. As per these mandatory guidelines, the reasons for such selection has to be with reference to qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned.
"During the recent six State Assembly elections held in 2022, it was observed that political parties gave unfounded and baseless reasons like popularity of the person, does good social work, cases are politically motivated etc. These are not sound and cogent reasons for fielding candidates with tainted backgrounds. This data clearly shows that political parties have no interest in reforming the electoral system and our democracy will continue to suffer at the hands of lawbreakers who become lawmakers," the election watchdog said.
Candidates with declared cases related to crime against women: 9 candidates have declared cases related to crime against women.
Candidates with declared cases related to murder: 3 candidates have declared cases related to murder (IPC Section-302) against themselves.
Candidates with declared cases related to attempt to murder: 12 candidates have declared cases related to Attempt to murder (IPC Section-307) against themselves.
Red Alert Constituencies*: 25(28 per cent ) out of 89 constituencies are Red alert constituencies. Red alert constituencies are those where 3 or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
Average assets: The average of assets per candidate contesting in the Gujarat Assembly Elections 2022 Phase I is Rs 2.88 Crores. In 2017 Gujarat Assembly Elections Phase 1, average assets per candidate for 923 candidates was Rs.2.16 crores.
Party wise average assets: Among major parties, the average assets per candidate for 89 BJP candidates analysed is Rs. 13.40 crores, 89 INC candidates analysed is Rs 8.38 crores, 88 AAP candidates have average assets of Rs 1.99 crore and 14 Bhartiya Tribal Party candidates have average assets worth Rs 23.39 lakhs.
Education details of candidates: 492 (62 per cent ) candidates have declared their educational qualifications to be between 5th and 12th standard while 185 (23 per cent ) candidates have declared having an educational qualification of graduate or above. 21 candidates are Diploma holders. 53 candidates have declared themselves to be just literate and 37 candidates are illiterate.
Age details of candidates: 277 (35 per cent ) candidates have declared their age to be between 25 to 40 years while 431 (55 per cent ) candidates have declared their age to be between 41 to 60 years. There are 79 (10 per cent ) candidates who have declared their age to be between 61 to 80 years and 1 candidate has declared he is more than 80 years old.
Gender details of candidates: 69 (9 per cent ) female candidates are contesting in the Gujarat assembly election 2022 Phase I. In 2017 Gujarat Assembly Elections Phase 1, 57(6 per cent ) out of 923 candidates analysed were women.
Crorepatis in the fray
The report states that out of the 788 candidates, 211(27 per cent ) are crorepatis in the first phase of Gujarat polls. Here the BJP, which is aiming to return to power once again, has given tickets to 79 (89 per cent ) out of 89 candidates who are wealthy. In comparison, Congress has given 65 (73 per cent ) out of 89 candidates to crorepatis and 33 (38 per cent ) out of 88 candidates have declared assets valued more than Rs 1 crore.
Candidates with zero or low assets
Amid these wealthy candidates, there are candidates with zero or low assets too. One Independent candidate namely Bhupendra Bhavanbhai Patoliya from Rajkot West constituency has declared zero assets in the affidavit.
Rakeshbhai Sureshbhai Gamit from Vyara constituency has movable assets worth Rs 1000, Jayaben Mehulbhai Boricha from Bhavnagar West constituency has movable assets worth Rs 3,000 and Samir Fakruddin Shaikh from Surat East constituency has movable assets worth Rs 6,500.
It has to be noted that a total of 37(5 per cent ) candidates have not declared their PAN details.
Out of the 788 candidates, 211(27 per cent ) are crorepatis while in the first phase of 2017 Gujarat Assembly Elections phase 1, there were 198 crorepatis (21 per cent) out of 923 candidates.