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17% Contesting Candidates in the 3rd Phase Charged with Criminal Cases: UP polls

As per an assessment by the Association for Democratic Reform (ADR) following a review of individual poll affidavits, 103 out of the 623 candidates competing in the 3rd round of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections possess major criminal records, including murder and rape. ADR reports that 135 candidates (22%) have filed felony cases against themselves.

The Uttar Pradesh Election Commission released the notification for the 3rd assembly election on Tuesday. By February 20, polling shall occur in 59 assembly seats distributed over 16 districts as in the third of seven-phase elections.

According to the research report, 245 (about 39 percent) of the 623 contenders are crorepatis. 48 from the BJP, 52 candidates from the SP, 29 from the Congress, 46 from the BSP, and 18 from the AAP have reported assets worth over Rs 1 crore.

According to a recent research report, 135 candidates in the third phase of the UP assembly elections possess criminal cases pending against them.

Twenty-six (44%) of the 59 constituencies within 16 districts which will vote in the third stage on February 20 have 3 or more contestants facing criminal accusations. Two ADR applicants have been charged with rape and several murders.

Surprisingly, 20 (36%) of 55 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates, 21 (36%) of 58 Samajwadi Party (SP) nominations, 18 (31%) of 59 Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), 11 (22%) of 49 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), plus 10 (18%) of 56 Congress nominations face significant criminal charges. Thirty-two percent of SP candidates, 25 percent of BJP candidates, 23 percent of BSP candidates, 20 percent of Congress candidates, and 11 percent of AAP candidates had criminal cases outstanding against them.

In February 2020, the Supreme Court asked political parties to clarify why they issued tickets to contestants with criminal records and also why they couldn’t be chosen as candidates if they didn’t.

As per the evidence collected by the ADR, political parties have very little interest in changing the electoral system. Our democracy would continue to suffer the fate of lawbreakers who can become legislators.

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