312 candidates, or 45% of the incoming cohort of 690 MLAs across the five states that recently went to the polls have criminal cases against them, a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows.
Of this, the candidates with the highest criminals cases are in Uttar Pradesh [UP] (51%) followed by Punjab (50%), Goa (40%), Uttarakhand (27%) and Manipur (23%).
Of the entire cohort, 219 candidates or 32% have serious criminal charges against them. ADR defines a serious criminal charge as:
- Punishments of 5 years or more or if it is non-bailable Electoral offences (such as bribery)
- Offences related to loss to the exchequer
- Assault, murder, kidnap or rape
- Offences mentioned under the Representation of People's Act, (Section 8)
- Offences of corruption, under the Prevention of Corruption Act
- Crimes against women
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has the most number of candidates in this cohort across all states: 356, as the party won UP, Uttarakhand and Manipur and emerged as the single largest party in Goa. Therefore, while they have the most number of candidates in absolute terms with criminal cases against them (134) and serious criminal cases against them (106), the percentage of this compared to other parties is lower - 38% for criminal cases and 30% for serious criminal cases.
The Samajwadi Party is sending 111 candidates to the next UP assembly. 71 (64%) of them have criminal cases against them and 48 (43%) have serious criminal cases against them.
In Punjab and Goa, the Aam Aadmi Party won 92 and 2 seats respectively. Together, 52 (55%) of these MLAs have criminal cases against them, while 23 (24%) have serious criminal cases against them.
Coming fourth was the Indian National Congress, with 55 seats across all five states. 24 (44%) and 18 (37%) have criminal and serious criminal cases against them respectively.
The Jansatta Dal Loktantrik and the Goa Forward Party may be sending 2 candidates and 1 candidates to the UP and Goa assembly respectively, all of them have serious criminal charges against them.
A wealthy cohort
87%, or 598 candidates across all these states are crorepatis. In fact, the average assets per candidate are ₹8.7 crores.
A fair share of winning candidates are crorepatis. In Goa, its 39 of 40 candidates, or 98% and is 366 of 403 candidates in UP, which is 91%.
87 candidates, or 74% in Punjab are crorepatis, while it is 58 candidates or 83% in Uttarakhand and 48 or 80% in Manipur.
All parties have a substantial portion of wealthy candidates who have won among their ranks. 320 (90%) of the BJP candidates, 100 (90%) of the SP, 65 (69%) of AAP and 50 (91%) of Congress winning candidates are crorepatis.
The wealthiest candidate in the entire election across all five states is Kulwant Singh, who won the election from the SAS Nagar constituency in Punjab as a candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party with assets worth ₹238 crores. Amit Agarwal, worth ₹148 crores, is the wealthiest candidate from Uttar Pradesh, who will represent Meerut from the BJP, and the second wealthiest candidate in the election.
The ADR report can be found here.
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