Hindustan Times

Every second candidate contesting the upcoming assembly polls has not studied beyond Class 12, and a fifth of them have serious criminal cases, according to a report by NGO Association of Democratic Reforms and

With 23% or 537 candidates being charged with serious crimes and 11 candidates in the state declaring they are illiterate, you may not have much of a choice when you go to vote on October 15. “It is disappointing that parties have fielded uneducated candidates to represent us in the assembly. The citizens are left with bad options to choose from. Parties must realise citizens consider the qualification an important criteria while voting,” said Sharad Kumar, ADR’s state coordinator.

The report also threw up some interesting figures: elite constituencies such as Malabar Hill and Colaba have the most candidates who have not studied beyond school. Nearly half or 47% of all candidates have assets worth several crores.

Around 61% of Shiv Sena’s candidates have criminal records, and 70 candidates from across the city have records of serious crimes such as murder, rioting and crimes against women, among others. 42% of them are from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

Of the Rs. 7.75crore an MLA receives for development work in the constituency, an average of 21% was used for toilets and 15% for better drainage systems, the report showed. However, citizens said many of these toilets were not functional.

“The MLAs are using their funds to build public toilets, but these are either out of use or poorly maintained. The toilets are built in slums, in a bid to woo the people who live there,” said James John, an AGNI activist and Andheri resident.

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