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16.02.2022
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As many as 135, or 22%, of the 623 candidates contesting in the third phase of Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh have criminal cases against them, non-profit organisation the Association for Democratic Reforms said on Tuesday. It also said that 103, or 17%, have serious criminal cases like those of murder, kidnapping and rape registered against them.

Cases have been filed against 20 candidates from Bharatiya Janata Party, 21 from Samajwadi Party, 18 from Bahujan Samaj Party, 10 from Congress and 11 from Aam Aadmi Party.

Each of these parties has fielded around or more than 50 candidates for the third phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections that will take place on February 20.

The Association of Democratic Reforms has categorised 26 out of 59 constituencies as “Red Alert” since three or more candidates from there have declared criminal cases against themselves.

In 2020, the Supreme Court had directed political parties to upload details of criminal cases against candidates on their websites, newspapers and social media platforms.

The court had said that a party must clarify the reasons for fielding a candidate with criminal antecedents.

“The directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties in [the] selection of candidates,” the report said. “All major parties contesting in Uttar Pradesh phase III elections have given tickets to 22% to 52% candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves.”

The Association of Democratic Reforms has suggested that candidates that have cases of murder, rape, smuggling and dacoity must be disqualified permanently. It also said that tax exemption to political parties with “tainted candidates” must be cancelled.

Meanwhile, the non-profit organisation has pointed out that of the total candidates in the fray for the third phase, 39% have declared assets that value more than Rs 1 crore.

As many as 90% of the Samajwadi Party candidates, 87% of BJP, 77% of Bahujan Samajwadi Party, 52% of Congress and 37% from Aam Aadmi Party have assets more than Rs 1 crore.

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