Shiv Sena Fields Most With Criminal Past for Polls: ADR
The Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), both Mumbai-based parties, lead the pack when it comes to yet again naming candidates with a criminal background in the coming general elections, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
While six parties have declared 203 candidates in their first lists, details are available for only 70 candidates, who have already contested elections in the past, said the ADR, a civil society group campaigning for honesty and transparency in politics.
While the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has the most number of "criminal candidates" at 13 out of 32 (41 percent), Shiv Sena and NCP beat it in percentage terms, an analysis of the candidates' affidavits by the group show.
"Shiv Sena has 12 out of 14 candidates (86 percent) with criminal cases, BJP has 13 out of 32 (41 percent) candidates with criminal cases, and NCP has eight out of 13 (62 percent) candidates with criminal cases. The AIADMK has one out of 6 (17 percent) candidates with criminal cases,” the ADR said.
The shocking aspect of the 70 candidates analysed is that, of them, 34 (that is nearly half) had declared a total of 224 criminal cases against themselves in their previous election affidavits - but were still re-nominated for the polls.
As far as serious crimes like murder and kidnapping are concerned, Shiv Sena tops the list with 50 percent candidates having declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits, ADR said.
Five out of 13 (38 percent) candidates of the NCP, seven out of 32 (22 percent) candidates of the BJP and one of six (17 percent) candidates of the AIADMK have declared serious criminal cases against themselves, it said.
Four candidates, according to ADR, have cases of murder and attempt to murder declared in their previous election affidavits while one, Kirit Somaiya of the BJP, has declared a case of dacoity against himself.
Three candidates declared cases related to kidnapping in their previous election affidavits. They belong to the NCP, Shiv Sena and include BJP's well known face Gopinath Munde.
As far as money power is concerned, the average assets of 70 candidates analysed are worth Rs.57.6 million, the ADR said.
The average assets of 13 NCP candidates are Rs.171 million followed by five candidates of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) with average assets of Rs.163 million, 14 candidates of the Shiv Sena with average assets of Rs.21.6 million, 32 candidates of the BJP with average assets of Rs.18.1 million, and six candidates of AIADMK with average assets of Rs.18.9 million.
Of these 70 candidates, 36 (51 percent) have declared total assets of more than Rs.10 million.
Praful Patel, sitting member of parliament of the NCP, has declared the highest assets worth Rs.1.2 billion among the 70 candidates analysed followed by Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the SAD with assets worth Rs.603 million, and Supriya Sule of the NCP with assets worth Rs.504.5 million.