Congress, BJP tainted with the same brush
By Abhinandan Mishra
Published: 24th Nov 2013 07:33:10 AM
A little over a month ago, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had dismissed an ordinance designed to save parliamentarians with criminal backgrounds as “nonsense”. So it is surprising that of the 230 Congress candidates in the fray for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, as many as 91, or close to 40 per cent, have criminal backgrounds. What’s more, they have been vetted by Rahul himself.
However, the Congress is not alone in doling out tickets to the tainted. One in every three BJP candidates has a criminal case pending against him/her as well.
Prior to the poll process getting underway, both parties repeatedly reiterated that individuals with criminal cases against them will not be promoted in the party. However, the respective list of candidates shows that both failed to implement the policy on the ground.
Of the two, the Congress has fielded the maximum number of tainted aspirants. According to the affidavits submitted, as many as 91 Congress contenders have criminal cases pending against them. For BJP, 61 candidates carry the criminal taint.
While no one from the Congress was ready to come on record, leaders on the condition of anonymity admitted that the “winnability” factor was the decider. “If you look at the candidates in Bhopal, two are known for their criminal bent of mind, but we are helpless as they were the only two who can win from those seats,” a party leader said.
For two out of six seats in Bhopal, the Congress has given tickets to Arif Masood (Bhopal Central) and Sanjeev Saxena (Bhopal south-west). While Masood faces an attempt to murder charge, Saxena is facing trial for disobeying the orders of a government servant. Masood gained notoriety when he once led a mob in Old Bhopal which indulged in largescale arson in which a police constable was seriously injured and his arm was almost severed due to a blow from a sword. Old timers of Bhopal recall Saxena for his hooliganism and his “hold” over new Bhopal.
Similarly, Brijendra Singh, the party candidate from Prithvipur, is facing charges of murder and attempt to murder. Another candidate, Ashwin Joshi, who is contesting from Indore-3, is facing trial for attempt to murder.
Apart from that, there are several candidates from both parties charged with corruption. The temperamental Kalpana Parulekar, who is the Congress candidate from Mahidpur in Ujjain has a total of 13 cases against her, including criminal conspiracy, rioting, forgery and criminal intimidation. She allegedly morphed pictures of RSS Sarasanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat and Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta P P Naolekar with the intention of establishing the latter’s association with the Sangh Parivar.
Rajendra Dadabhai, the Congress candidate from Satna is accused in cases of forgery and criminal breach of trust. Similar is the case with Antar Singh Darbar, who is contesting on a Congress ticket from Mhow in Indore. He faces charges of cheating, criminal breach of trust, rioting and forgery.
The BJP candidate from Mahidpur, Bahadur Singh, is an accused in a case of outraging the modesty of a woman. Same is the case with Rustam Singh of BJP who is the candidate from Morena. He is also facing charges of crime against women. He is joined by Choudhary Gambhir Singh, who faces trial under Section 498 of IPC (cruelty to women) and criminal intimidation.
In 2008, the percentage of tainted candidates in Congress was 31. Similarly, 22 per cent of the candidates given tickets by BJP in 2008 had criminal cases against them, while the figure this time is 27 per cent.