150+ candidates in UP elections phase 1 face criminal cases
A whopping 156 candidates contesting in the first phase of upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections have declared criminal cases against themselves, according to a report by UP Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms. This means one in every four candidates is named in a criminal case. The association analyzed the election affidavits from 615 candidates of 623 who are participating in the first phase.
- The report highlights the long-standing issue of political parties fielding candidates with serious criminal charges against them.
- Parties often rubbish such cases, terming them as being politically motivated.
- Presently, candidates are required to declare their criminal records while filing their nominations.
- However, there have long been calls to disallow people named in criminal cases from fighting elections.
Of the 156 candidates, at least 12 have declared cases related to crimes against women. One of those candidates has declared a rape case against him. Further, half a dozen candidates have declared murder cases against themselves while 30 candidates have mentioned police cases involving the "attempt to murder" charge. Over 50% of constituencies have three or more candidates with criminal cases.
As far as the political parties are concerned, the Samajwadi Party (SP) has the highest proportion of candidates with criminal cases at 75%. It is followed by the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) at nearly 60%. The figure stood at 51% for the Bharatiya Janata Party, 36% for the Congress, 34% for the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and 15% for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Besides, only 12% of the total candidates in the first phase are women, indicating a stark gender parity. With 16 of 58 candidates (27%), the Congress party has the highest women representation. Meanwhile, just about 6% of candidates from the RLD and SP are women.
According to the analysis, nearly 300 candidates declared their educational qualification as graduation or above. Meanwhile, 239 said their education was between classes five and 12. "Seven candidates are diploma holders and 38 candidates have declared themselves to be just literate," the report said. Fifteen candidates said they were illiterate while 12 did not provide their education qualification.
The report also shed light on the wealth declared by the candidates. Of the 615 candidates analyzed, as many as 280 were crorepatis, meaning their declared assets were valued at more than Rs. 1 crore. Reportedly, the average wealth per candidate was Rs. 3.72 crore. In fact, 97% of the candidates from the BJP and the RLD had assets worth over Rs. 1 crore.