In the BJP, 124 of 433 candidates have declared serious criminal offences against their names. In the Congress, there are 107 such candidates out of 419


The ADR, which released its report on Monday, said 1,500 candidates of the 7,928 had declared criminal cases against themselves, which is on trend with the rise in such instances.Telegraph file picture

The Association for Democratic Reforms, a Delhi-based non-profit that tracks various aspects of elections, said said that 19 per cent of the 7,928 candidates analysed by them had criminal cases against their names and 13 per cent had serious criminal cases.

“Since more than a third are Independent candidates, the overall average of criminal cases or wealth gets skewed,” said Anil Verma, head of National Election Watch, which was involved with ADR on the election tracking project. “The national parties' average taken separately comes out to be 36 per cent on criminal cases, of which 14 per cent are serious offences.” 

On serious offences, the CPM had 35 per cent candidates with such cases, the BJP 29 per cent, the Congress 26, and the BSP 16 per cent, but in absolute numbers the BJP led the pack. In the BJP, 124 out of 433 candidates declared serious criminal offences against their names, in the Congress 107 of 419 candidates, in the BSP 61out of 381, in the CPM 24 out of 69 candidates. Among Independents, the figure is 292 candidates out of 3,370 names.

The ADR, which released its report on Monday, said 1,500 candidates of the 7,928 had declared criminal cases against themselves, which is on trend with the rise in such instances. In 2009, the figure was 1,158 candidates out of 7,810, and in 2014, 1,404 out of 8,205 names. 

The Congress and BJP have almost the same share - 39 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively - of candidates with criminal cases against them. In the CPM, the percentage is about 58, but the party has fewer candidates than the BJP and the Congress in the fray. The CPM, however, has shown a steep rise in the percentage of candidates with criminal cases, from 25 per cent in 2009 to 58 per cent in 2019.

ADR, along with National Election Watch, analysed self-sworn affidavits of the candidates. In total 8,049 candidates are in this Lok Sabha contest. The report doesn’t include the analysis of 121 candidates whose complete and clear affidavits were not available on the Election Commission website.

“Criminalisation in politics is witnessing a constant rise,” said Jagdeep Chhokar, a founder member of ADR, told a news conference in New Delhi while releasing the report.

Candidates with serious criminal cases against them has also seen an uptick. About 1,070 have declared serious crimes against their names such as rape, murder, attempt to murder and kidnapping.

Convicted persons are not allowed to contest elections, however, the report found 56 such candidates who have declared a convicted case against them and are yet valid candidates. 

In all, 126 candidates have cases related to crimes against women. Of the 126, nine have declared cases related to rape.

Hate speech is one of the concerns in these elections. According to the report, 95 aspirants had declared cases related to hate speech against their names. 

The report also found that 677 political parties are contesting in Lok Sabha elections this year, more than 200 parties from the last elections. In 2009, the figure was 368 political parties. This is an 84 per cent increase in the number of political parties in a decade.

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