The Hindu
New Delhi

Political parties may wax eloquent against corruption and criminality in public life, but the selection of candidates in the fray in the upcoming Assembly polls in five States tell a different story.

In all, 31 per cent candidates in the fray in Uttar Pradesh so far have criminal records.

An analysis of affidavits submitted by 248 of the 617 candidates declared so far, shows that 35 per cent Congress candidates had a criminal background, followed by 31 per cent Samajwadi Party candidates, 28 per cent BJP and 20 per cent RLD. The BSP has not announced its candidates so far.

The analysis, done by National Election Watch and Association of Democratic Reforms, an umbrella of 1,2OO citizen groups, shows that 15 per cent of the candidates had serious criminal charges against them such as theft and kidnapping. Of these, 13 each belonged to the BJP and Congress and 12 to the SP.

An analysis of affidavits of all 690 MLAs in the five States showed 28 per cent MLAs (190 out of 690 analysed) had self-declared pending criminal charges, with 89 MLAs having declared serious charges such as murder and attempt to murder. Uttar Pradesh had the maximum percentage of MLAs (35 per cent) with pending criminal cases.

Mayawati's riches

Interestingly, an analysis of previous affidavits by incumbent Chief Ministers of the five States – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur – shows Ms Mayawati of UP having the highest assets of Rs 87.27 crore. Mr Okram Ibobi Singh, Chief Minister of Manipur, has the lowest assets worth 6.09 lakh.

Among the five Chief Ministers, Mr Prakash Singh Badal of Punjab is the only one with a criminal case against him with charges of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy etc.

All the incumbent Chief Ministers are graduates with Maj Gen (Retd) Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, holding a post-graduate degree.

A total of 239 MLAs or 35 per cent of the total in the five States are crorepatis, and out 690 MLAs analysed, 235 had not given their PAN details.

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