The Times of India

MUMBAI: Close to half the candidates contesting Maharashtra assembly elections are crorepatis. No less than 32% candidates fielded by the five major political parties—Congress, BJP, MNS, Shiv Sena and NCP—have serious criminal cases against them.

This data was revealed following an analysis of 2,336 candidates' affidavits filed with the election commission. While sharing details of the analysis, Association by Democratic Reforms (ADR), AGNI (Action for Good Governance and Networking in India) and Mumbai Votes told mediapersons on Friday that voters must study these affidavits before they decide to vote.

"Voters can get a clearer picture of their candidates after reading through their affidavits, which they must compulsorily file. Due to time constraints, we were unable to study all the affidavits of all the 4,119 candidates. Of the 2,336 candidates, 518 are contesting from Mumbai," said Sharad Kumar of AGNI.

The NGO points to a 2% increase in the percentage of candidates with serious criminal cases against them from 2013 to 2014.

"Earlier, too, we had requested parties not to give tickets to candidates with criminal cases. What is surprising is the rise in the number of candidates fielded by major political parties," said D M Sukthankar of AGNI.

Vivek Gilani, spokesperson of Mumbai Votes, said parties are keen on winning a majority and therefore do not conduct a thorough check of candidates' backgrounds. "However, we as voters must take charge. While purchasing a mobile phone, we do so much research. There's a need for us to do something similar when it comes to elections," said Gilani.

Out of the 2,336 candidates analyzed, 1,095 (47%) are crorepatis. Meanwhile, eight candidates have declared assets worth more than Rs 100 crore, three of whom are from Mumbai.

The crorepati list has also lengthened from 2009. Then, 76% of NCP candidates were crorepatis; today they make up 83% of the total.

In case of BJP, their numbers have risen from 54% to 81% this year. Congress numbers have risen from 66% in 2009 to 81% in 2014, and Shiv Sena from 45% in 2009 to 71% in 2014.

© Association for Democratic Reforms
Privacy And Terms Of Use
Donation Payment Method