The Week

For the second phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party had fielded 67 per cent candidates with criminal cases against their names, while the lowest share of such candidates (12 per cent) has come from the AAP as per an analysis of candidate affidavits by the Association for Democratic Reforms. In the first phase of the elections, voting for which is happening today, 15 to 75 per cent candidates from various political parties had criminal cases against them.

Among the major parties, 35 (67 per cent) out of 52 candidates analysed from SP, 23 (43 per cent) out of 54 candidates analysed from the Indian National Congress, 20 (36 per cent) out of 55 candidates analysed from BSP, 18 (34 per cent) out of 53 candidates analysed from BJP, one (33 per cent) out of three candidates analysed from RLD and seven (14 per cent) out of 49 candidates analysed from AAP have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

The number of candidates with serious criminal cases is highest in the SP, where 48 per cent candidates have such cases against them. Next is the INC with 30 per cent such candidates, followed by the BSP with 27 per cent such candidates. The BJP fares only slightly better with 21 per cent of its candidates having serious charges against them.

Six candidates have declared cases related to crimes against women, one has a murder case to his name, while 18 have cases for attempts to murder.

The above figures have put more than half of the 55 constituencies that go to the polls on February 14 in the red alert category. Such constituencies where three or more contesting candidates have criminal cases against them fall in this category of constituencies.

The analysis notes that political parties have not observed the Supreme Court’s directions about not choosing candidates with criminal backgrounds. “During the recent six state assembly elections held in 2020-21, it was observed that political parties gave unfounded and baseless reasons like popularity of the person, does good social work, cases are politically motivated etc. These are not sound and cogent reasons for fielding candidates with tainted backgrounds. This data clearly shows that political parties have no interest in reforming the electoral system and our democracy will continue to suffer at the hands of lawbreakers who become lawmakers," says the report.

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