The DMK and the Congress are the two parties fielding the most candidates with criminal cases in the second phase Lok Sabha elections. Almost half of their candidates have criminal cases against them.
While 1,644 candidates will be contesting in phase two on April 18, election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has analysed only 1,590 candidates. The remaining 54 have not been taken into account due to unavailability of affidavits at the time of reporting.
BOOM looks at data from ADR on candidates’ criminal and financial backgrounds for phase two.
Phase 2: Crime Data
A total 16% or 251 candidates among 1590 candidates have criminal cases against them, whereas a total of 11% or 167 candidates have serious criminal cases against them.
ADR defines a serious criminal as:
- Punishments of 5 years or more or it is non-bailable
- Electoral offences (such as bribery)
- Assault, murder, kidnap or rape
- Offences mentioned under the Representation of People’s Act, 1951
- Offences of corruption, under the Prevention of Corruption Act
While the first phase saw 12 convicts contesting the elections, the second phase will see only 3.
All convicts contesting elections are from Maharashtra.
Phase 2 Crime Data By Party
The DMK and the Congress are parties fielding the highest number of candidates with criminal charges against them as a ratio of the total candidates being fielded by them.
Almost half the candidates fielded by them have criminal charges against them, and almost a quarter of the candidates fielded by them have serious criminal charges against them.
Also, 41 of 97 constituencies will see three or more criminal candidates going to the polls within them. A map of them is as below.
As per the classifications done by ADR, which divides the asset groups of contestants into five categories, 65% of contestants fall into the lower two rungs – with declared assets of less than ₹50 lakhs.
Financials By Party
All the candidates fielded by regional giant from Tamil Nadu, AIADMK and its local ally, the DMDK, have assets over ₹1 crore (or crorepatis).
UPA member DMK, the BJP and the Congress are not far behind, with the parties fielding 96%, 88% and 87% of crorepati candidates respectively.
The JD(S) is fielding 4 candidates this phase of elections – and they have average assets of ₹47 crores between them.
The average assets of candidates this phase across all parties and independents is ₹3.9 crores.
Phase 2: Richest Candidates
Vasantkumar H of the Congress is the richest candidate in Phase two polls with assets of ₹417 crores declared by the candidate.
Bollywood actress and BJP candidate from Mathura, Hema Malini is also in the top five candidates by total assets contesting in the second phase of elections. She is also the richest BJP candidate across all constituencies in this phase.
While former Prime Minister HD Devegowda ranks 155th on the overall assets, his grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy is among the top 20. Newcomer Prakash Raj contesting as an independent stands at rank 40, whereas son of P. Chidambaram – Karti Chidambaram stands at number 13.
Phase two of the Lok Sabha elections is scheduled to take place in 95 constituencies on April 18. Initially, 97 constituencies were on the list, until President Ram Nath Kovind cancelled the election in Vellore. This action was taken on recommendation of the EC following questionable distribution of money by the DMK; the first instance of such a cancellation in Indian history. Also, Tripura East was scheduled to go to the polls in the second phase, but has been deferred to the third phase on April 23 due to security concerns.
A previous version of this story showed that 96 constituencies were going to the polls in the second phase. It has been updated to 95.