Deccan Herald
Riddhi Kaushik

Despite Supreme Court guidelines, 23 per cent of candidates in the fray for 68 state Assembly seats are facing criminal cases

With the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections set for Nov. 12, citizens across the state need to decide who they will be voting for. The criminal backgrounds of the various candidates have gained importance in recent years. Based on a report from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), of the 412 candidates assessed for criminal backgrounds in the state, 94 have declared criminal cases and 50 of them are facing serious criminal cases.

Here is what the report showed about the criminal histories of candidates:

CPI(M): Of the 11 candidates evaluated, seven have criminal backgrounds and five among them are facing serious criminal cases.

INC: Thirty-six of the 68 candidates from the party declared that they were facing criminal cases and 17 among them fell into the category of serious crimes.

BJP: Of the 68 candidates, 12 declared criminal cases. Of these, six are in the category of serious crimes.

AAP: Twelve of the 67 candidates had criminal backgrounds. Six of them are facing serious criminal cases.

BSP: Two of the 53 candidates had criminal backgrounds. One of the two cases was a serious crime.

Among the many criminal cases against candidates, five are facing cases related to Crimes Against Women, two are facing murder cases and four are facing Attempt to Murder charges. 

As per an analysis of the ADR report, the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court regarding the selection of candidates had no visible impact on political parties. On Feb. 13, 2020, the apex court had delivered instructions to political parties that asked them to provide clear justifications for preferring candidates with criminal backgrounds over others. The top court also said that the specified reasons should pertain to the qualifications, achievements and merits of the candidates. 

Despite the guidelines, 23 per cent of candidates in the fray for 68 Himachal Pradesh Assembly seats are facing criminal cases. 

Red-alert constituencies

These are constituencies with three or more candidates with declared criminal cases. Of the 68 Himachal Pradesh constituencies, nine are red-alert ones.

Of those with criminal backgrounds, Rakesh Singha and Kuldip Singh Tanwar, both of the CPI(M), are facing the most number of cases with 30 and 20 cases respectively. Manish Kumar Thakur of the AAP is facing 19 criminal cases and Lokendra Kumar of the BJP is facing 11 cases.

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