The Free Press Journal

40 per cent of the newly-elected MLAs in the State have serious criminal charges against them as against 33 per cent in 2009, says Association for Democratic Reforms

Mumbai : In an alarming development, the percentage of law-breakers becoming law-makers has risen from 33 to 40 in Maharashtra.

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms, 40 per cent of the newly-elected MLAs in the State have serious criminal charges against them as against 33 per cent in 2009. Shiv Sena tops this chart with 56 per cent of its MLAs facing serious criminal charges, followed by NCP (44 per cent), BJP (38 per cent) and the Congress (24 per cent).

The report, which was made by the ADR in association with the Maharashtra Election Watch team, analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 288 newly-elected MLAs.

These serious criminal charges include murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery and dacoity, crimes against women and hate speeches.

Two MLAs from BJP and one from Shiv Sena have declared that they are facing a murder case. But Shiv Sena leads its former ally in cases of attempt to murder. While five of the BJP MLAs have cases of attempt to murder against them, Shiv Sena has seven, NCP has two and one is an Independent MLA.

When it comes to crimes against women, five BJP MLAs and six Shiv Sena ones have declared cases against themselves. Interestingly, these are the very parties who have boasted of empowering and protecting women in their manifestos.

In Maharashtra, 14 MLAs have declared cases related to robbery and dacoity. Out of these, six are from the Shiv Sena, five from BJP, two MLAs from NCP and one MLA belongs to CPI(M).

Of the 288 legislators in the state, nine have declared cases related to kidnapping. Out of these, three are from BJP, five from NCP and one MLA from from Shiv Sena.

Reacting to the findings of this report, national spokesperson for the Congress Anant Gadgil said, “We take any form of criticism seriously. But what needs to be taken into consideration is the fact that sometimes cases are filed with malicious intent. At such times, our biggest source of verification is the locals from the area. If we find out a candidate has a criminal background and a bad image in the area, he is never given a ticket. Also, our definition of serious criminal charges only includes murder, attempt to murder and rape. We have always been keen on fielding clean candidates. Beyond that, it is the public’s duty not to elect such candidates.”

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