The Times of India

BHOPAL: Every fifth contestant in the fray from Madhya Pradesh has a criminal background, an analysis by a think-tank revealed on Friday. Major political parties contesting in the state, including Congress, BJP and BSP have seen a rise in number of tainted candidates since the last Lok Sabha elections in 2009. Besides, number of candidates with serious criminal cases has also risen, barring Congress. 

Madhya Pradesh Election Watch (MPEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed self-sworn affidavits of candidates, including four major parties, Congress, BJP, BSP and AAP submitted to Election Commission. 

Of the 370 candidates analysed by ADR, 65 candidates (18%) have declared criminal cases against them, while in 2009 of 420 candidates analysed, 41 (10%) had declared criminal cases. Of these, 35 have declared serious criminal cases, including charges of forgery, cheating, causing disappearance of evidence of offence, extortion, wrongful restraint, criminal intimidation and crime against women. In contrast, 26 (6%) had serious crimes to their name in the 2009 Lok Sabha election. 

In 2014, maximum number of tainted candidates has been fielded by Congress and BSP. Ten (36%) of 28 candidates in each party have criminal cases against them while 8 of 29 (28%) candidates from BJP and 8 of 27 (30%) candidates from AAP have declared criminal cases in their affidavits. 

The number of such tainted contestants has also seen a spurt since the last elections. Congress had 27% tainted candidates in 2009 which rose to 36% in 2014. Similarly, BJP had 8% candidates in 2009 which dramatically rose to 28% in 2014 Lok Sabha election. BSP too has 36% tainted candidates this year, which was 25% in the last elections. 

Heinous crimes 

Of 35 candidates with heinous crimes to their name, AAP and BSP lead the pack with six candidates each, followed by BJP (4) and Congress (2). Among candidates in the third phase, Congress's Premchand Guddu from Ujjain and Ramesh Chensingh from Khargone, AAP candidates Alok Agarwal from Khandwa and Kailash Awasya from Khargone and BSP candidates Sanjay Solanki from Khandwa and Gokul Prasad Dongre from Dewas have charges of heinous crimes against them.

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