Status check: Criminal cases against candidates fighting in first phase LS polls

Nearly 42 per cent of the 102 Lok Sabha seats scheduled to go to polls in the first of the seven-phase elections on April 19 are “red alert” constituencies, as 3 or more candidates are in the fray against whom criminal cases are pending.
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Representational image

NEW DELHI: An analysis of the affidavits of 1,618 of 1,625 candidates in the fray for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections has revealed that 16 percent (252) of them are facing criminal cases with all four of the RJD’s nominees, 13 each of 22 DMK’s and 36 AIADMK nominees have cases pending against them. BJP’ 28 out of its 77 candidates and the Congress’ 19 of 56 candidates have declared criminal cases pending against them, revealed a poll rights body on Monday.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which has analysed the self-sworn affidavits of candidates said, It has found that nearly 42 percent of the 102 Lok Sabha seats scheduled to go to polls in the first of the seven-phase elections on April 19 are “red alert” constituencies, as 3 or more candidates are in the fray against whom criminal case are pending.

According to the ADR seven candidates are facing murder charges, while 19 are implicated in attempt-to-murder cases. Eighteen candidates have declared in their affidavits cases related to crimes against women, and one of them, faces rape charge under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The ADR, which did the analysis along with National Election Watch, is a coalition of civil society groups for domestic election monitoring. The organisation said that 35 candidates are linked to cases of hate speech.

Besides the RJD, the AIADMK, the DMK, the BJP and the Congress, others including three (43 percent) of seven candidates of the SP, two (40 percent) of five candidates of the TMC have criminal cases against them.

While analysing wealth disparities among candidates, the ADR said, according to affidavits, around 28 percent of candidates in the polls’ first phase are “crorepatis” with assets exceeding Rs 1 crore. The average assets per candidate stands at Rs 4.51 crores, with notable discrepancies observed across party lines.

The analysis showed that among the major parties, more than Rs 1 crore assets have been declared by all four candidates of the RJD, 35 (97 percent) of 36 candidates of the AIADMK, 21 (96 percent) of 22 candidates of the DMK, 69 (90 percent) of 77 candidates of the BJP, 49 (88 percent) of 56 candidates of the Congress, four (80 percent) of five candidates of the TMC and 18 (21 percent) of 86 candidates of the BSP.

Congress candidate Nakul Nath contesting from Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh has declared the highest over Rs 716 crore worth of assets followed by AIADMK’ Erode (Tamil Nadu) candidate Ashok Kumar with assets worth over Rs 662 crore, as BJP’s Dhevanathan Yadav T, contesting from Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu, has assets worth over Rs 304 crore.

Lok Sabha polls will be held in seven phases beginning from April 19 and the counting of votes will take place on June 4 in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will bid for a third consecutive term. The other phases will be held on April 26, May 7, May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1.

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