India Today
Gyanant Singh
New Delhi

Anna Hazare's anti-corruption campaign may have aroused ordinary people but not politicians. A scrutiny of 248 of the 617 candidates fielded by the BJP, Congress, SP and RLD in Uttar Pradesh has revealed that 31 per cent of those in the fray have criminal antecedents, a study released by the National Election Watch (NEW) - a nationwide campaign working on electoral reforms - says.

The statistics is incomplete as NEW or its associates did not have data with regard to the remaining 369 candidates and the BSP was yet to declare its candidates.

The organisation had relied on the affidavits filed by the candidates themselves before the Election Commission in 2007 or later. Though NEW has compiled a list of tainted candidates, it was with a disclaimer that its team had only matched names while looking for records from previous polls. This was because political parties had only declared names and had not given any other information.

The study revealed 38 of the 77 candidates with criminal antecedents faced serious charges such as murder, attempt to murder, robbery, theft, kidnapping and the like.

The BJP and the Congress have 26 candidates each with criminal antecedents. The SP has 24 and the RLD one.

Going by percentage, the Congress leads the list with 35 per cent of 75 candidates put to scrutiny. The SP with 31 per cent of 77 candidates is second, while the BJP is on third with 28 per cent of 91 candidates.

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