Lok Sabha elections: Are candidates hushing up criminal past in Telangana?

At present, candidates are getting away with advertising their criminal history in less popular media houses.

HYDERABAD: With just a few more days to go for the Lok Sabha elections in State, activists observe that the many candidates have not been advertising their criminal antecedents as per rules issued by the Election Commission.

Of the 443 contesting the elections, several candidates have numerous criminal cases, — ranging from petty to serious — against them. Nizamabad BJP pick D Aravind, for instance, has a case against him for allegedly polluting the environment. BJP’s candidate in Adilabad Soyam Bapu Rao, meanwhile, tops the list with 52 criminal cases against him. Many of the candidates even have cases of outraging a woman’s modesty against them.

However, the pertinent question remains. Are these politicos advertising their criminal antecedents ahead of polls? Activists and EC officials allege that a majority of these candidates do not adhere to the rule directing them to advertise their criminal past in leading print and electronic media.

At present, candidates are getting away with advertising their criminal history in less popular media houses. However, as per the ECI, contesting politicos need to put up their antecedents in ‘leading electronic and print media’. They are also required to advertise the same at least thrice — any time between the last day of withdrawal of nominations and the beginning of election silence.

“The number of viewers or readers that the pick should advertise his/her antecedents for has not been specified,” said M Satyavati, Deputy CEO. In the recent Assembly elections, many had complied with the norms. But at the same time, many had failed to advertise their criminal history for the stipulated seven seconds on TV channels. “Candidates did not advertise long enough, and we had taken note of that,” Satyavati added.

“There are very few candidates who have advertised their antecedents for the Lok Sabha elections. Even the SC has taken note of the poor compliance and has issued a contempt notice on the EC body,” said M Padmanabha Reddy, Forum for Good Governance.

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