02 Nov 2017
Himachal Elections: 158 crorepati candidates, 61 with criminal cases
Of the 338 candidates in the fray for the Himachal polls 2017, 158 are crorepatis and 61 have criminal cases against them.
As per an analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch, the average assets of candidates contesting polls is about Rs. 4cr.
Further, 31 candidates have declared serious criminal charges, including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping etc against them.
What does the analysis reveal in terms of criminal cases?
The BJP is fielding the highest number of candidates with criminal cases. Of its 68 candidates, 23 face criminal charges.
One Congress candidate Ram Kumar from Doon constituency is accused of murder and overall six candidates from the Congress have criminal cases against them.
Six independents, 10 from CPI(M), and three from BSP have also declared criminal cases against them in their affidavits.
About 50% of candidates contesting are crorepatis!
Considering declared assets, Congress has the highest number of crorepatis (59 of 68), closely followed by BJP (47 of 68).
Other candidates who declared assets more than Rs. 1cr include 6 from BSP and 36 independents.
Only 53 candidates declared financial worth below Rs. 10L.
The richest are BJP's Balvir Verma with assets worth Rs. 90cr followed by Congress's Vikramaditya Singh (Rs. 84cr).
What else did the analysis cover?
The report noted that 71 candidates have not declared their sources of income, 20 their PAN details and 101 their income-tax details.
Regarding education, 120 candidates are between 5th pass and 12th pass.
Most candidates (179) are in the older age bracket of 51-80 years.
In terms of gender, the ratio is skewed as only 19 of 338 candidates are women.
What is the significance of this report?
Congress candidates' wealth could have increased because it's been in power for the last five years. As per ADR, the assets of sitting MLAs re-contesting across party lines went up by 80%.
Ironically, the high number of candidates with criminal cases being fielded comes on the heels of EC asking SC to ban convicted politicians from contesting elections and expediting pending trials against politicians.