India TV
New Delhi

Indian politics has always been accused of sheltering criminals.

Samuel Johnson, the 18th-century English author, had said that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrel but in Indian context it can be tweaked to say that Politics is the last refuge of the criminals.

The common perception in India is that politics is the natural culmination of the career of a veteran criminal. The Bigger your crime record, better is the probability of your success as a politician.

Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has done a study on the status of criminalization of Indian politics and the findings are very interesting.

Vitthal Radadiya (Gujarat)
According to this study, out of 4,807 MPs and MLAs in India, a whooping 1, 460 have criminal records pending against them.  It means that around 30 percent of Indian lawmakers have a criminal record.
Out of these 1, 460 lawmakers, 688 have serious criminal cases pending against them. 

Kameshwar Baitha (Jharkhand)
Now let’s have a look at the present Lok Sabha. Out of 543 MPs, 162 have criminal cases pending against them. Here again, 30 percent of Lok Sabha MPs have criminal record.
A state wise analysis throws very interesting figure. As expected, UP, Bihar and Jharkhand are clear leaders as far as criminalization of politics is concerned. 

Atiq Ahmed (UP)
In UP, 47 percent of MLAs have criminal cases pending against them. In Bihar, 58 percent of MLAs are facing criminal cases and the adjoining Jharkhand has left both UP and Bihar far behind as far as criminalization of politics is concerned. In Jharkhand, a massive 74 percent of MLAs have criminal cases pending against them. 
The party wise finding is also an eye opener and it seems all parties are vying with each other as far as inducting leaders with criminal records is concerned.

Md Shahabuddin (Bihar)
Here again, the honour of leading the table goes to the ruling party of Jharkhand, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). A whopping 82 percent of JMM MLAs and MPs are facing criminal cases. 
Lalu Prasad’s RJD is the runner-up as 64 percent of its MPs and MLAs have criminal cases pending against them. 

Mukhtar Ansari (UP)
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party is at the third position with 48 percent of its MPs and MLAs having criminal cases pending against them.
It’s not that this malaise affects regional parties only. In fact, the national parties are not far behind in sharing the honours. 

Subodh kant Sahay (Jharkhand)
31 percent MPs and MLAs of BJP, the party with difference, are facing criminal cases against them.
On the other hand the record of Congress party, the oldest political formation that boasts of leaders like Gandhi, Nehru and Subhash Bose, is equally disturbing.   According to ADR findings, 21 percent of Congress MPs and MLAs have criminal cases registered against them. 

Mukul Wasnik
These findings clearly indicate that political parties in India may publically talk about being concerned over the increasing criminalization of politics but in reality they are responsible for abetting this trend.

Ajay Maken (Delhi)
The reason is not very difficult to decipher. The criminals can go to any extent- from Saam, Daam, Dand and Bhed - to win an election and this is something that make them nost eligible for fighting electoral battles.

Harish Rawat (Uttarakhand)
They get an upper hand because for every party, be it Congresss , BJP, SP, RJD or any other party, the biggest criteria for selecting a candidate is his or her winnability. And who can fulfill this condition better than a person with criminal mindset?
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