Several political parties yet to publish criminal antecedents of its candidates
New Delhi, Apr 10: There are 35 candidates from the Congress who have declared pending criminal cases against them. Out of the 83 candidates analysed, 35 with pending criminal cases are fighting in the first phase of the polls.
The BJP on the other hand 30 candidates in the first phase who have pending criminal cases against them. The BSP and CPI have fielded 8 and 2 such candidates respectively. The CPI (M) has 8 and the NCP 2 such candidates.
Among the Congress candidates, 22 have declared serious pending charges against them. The BJP on the other hand has 16, while the BSP and CPO have 4 and 1 respectively. The CPI (M) has three such candidates on its list, while the NCP has two.
The Association for Democratic Reforms which has analysed the candidates points out towards an order of the Supreme Court dated September 25 2018 in which directions regarding the publication of criminal antecedents of contesting candidates.
Additionally, the Election Commission of India (ECI) in a letter dated 10 October 2018 to all Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs), laid down instructions for the fulfilment of the above directions.
It stated that such declaration is to be published in the prescribed format at least on three different dates from the day following the last date for withdrawal of candidatures and upto two days before the date of poll. Accordingly, for Phase I of Lok Sabha Elections 2019, such period was 29th March to 9th April, 2019.
Although all parties are required to publish the criminal antecedents of candidates fielded by them as per the aforementioned directions, the following observation is made after checking the official and state websites of only the 7 National Political Parties.
As of 9 April evening, only the Telangana state website of BJP had listed the criminal antecedents of 8 candidates out of a total of 30 with criminal cases fielded by BJP for Phase I. For other National Parties including INC, BSP, CPI, CPI(M) & NCP that have set up candidates with self-declared criminal cases for Phase I, no such information was available on their official websites till that time, ADR said.
This suggests outright non-compliance with the SC order and the ECI directions by candidates as well as the political parties in the first phase of Lok Sabha Elections 2019. In view of this, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has written a letter to the Election Commission of India, requesting them to take necessary action and to pursue this matter actively in the subsequent phases of General Elections 2019, the note by ADR also said.