UP elections: Criminal cases against 25 pc of candidates in fray for phase I, says ADR
Noida/New Delhi, Feb 2: Twenty-five per cent of candidates in the fray for the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections have criminal cases against them, including 12 who are accused of crimes against women and six charged with murder, according to poll reforms advocacy group ADR. The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said it has analysed self-sworn affidavits of 615 candidates across political parties and Independent nominees from the 58 assembly seats in 11 districts of the state where elections are scheduled on February 10.
There are a total 623 candidates in the fray, and affidavits of eight of them could not be analysed because they were either badly scanned or incomplete, the ADR said. On criminal background of candidates, it said, "Out of 615 candidates analysed, 156 (25 per cent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves while 121 (20 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves."
Among the major parties, 21 (75 per cent) out of 28 candidates analysed from the SP, 17 (59 per cent) out of 29 candidates from the RLD, 29 (51 per cent) out of 57 candidates from the BJP, 21 (36 per cent) out of 58 candidates from the Congress, 19 (34 per cent) out of 56 candidates from the BSP and eight (15 per cent) out of 52 candidates from the AAP have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits, it said. Among the major parties, 17 (61 per cent) out of 28 candidates analysed from the SP, 15 (52 per cent) out of 29 candidates from the RLD, 22 (39 per cent) out of 57 candidates from the BJP, 11 (19 per cent) out of 58 candidates from the INC, 16 (29 per cent) out of 56 candidates from the BSP and five (10 per cent) out of 52 candidates from the AAP have declared "serious criminal cases" against themselves in their affidavits, the ADR noted.
According to the group, there are also 12 candidates who have declared cases related to "crimes against women" and one of them has declared cases related to rape (IPC section 376). It said the criteria for "serious criminal cases" refer to any offence for which there is a maximum punishment of five years or more, or if it is non-bailable, an electoral offence (for eg. IPC 171E or bribery).
Offences related to loss to exchequer, assault, murder, kidnap, rape related, mentioned in the Representation of the People Act (section 8), those under Prevention of Corruption Act, and crimes against women also qualify as "serious criminal cases", the ADR said. The advocacy group further said six candidates have declared cases related to murder (IPC section 302) against themselves and 30 have declared cases related to attempt to murder (IPC section 307) against themselves.
Of the 58 assembly seats going to polls on February 10, 31 (53 per cent) are "red alert" constituencies -- those where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves, it noted. Citing these findings, the advocacy group held that Supreme Court directions have had no effect on political parties in selection of candidates in phase I of the polls.
"All major parties contesting in Uttar Pradesh phase I elections have given tickets to 15 per cent to 75 per cent candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves. The Supreme Court in its directions dated February 13, 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," it said. "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," it added. PTI