The number of candidates with criminal backgrounds stood at 15 percent in Phase 1 of 2017’s Gujarat State Assembly elections, the number has jumped to a whopping 21 percent.
Despite the Supreme Court’s direction to political parties to refrain from fielding candidates with criminal backgrounds, there has been a spike in the number of such candidates in the first phase of the upcoming Gujarat state assembly polls.
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Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has the highest number of candidates with criminal backgrounds, while the number of such candidates fielded by Congress has remained the same. The number of such candidates from the BJP has decreased, said a report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) released on Thursday.
The number of candidates with criminal backgrounds stood at 15 percent in Phase 1 of 2017’s Gujarat assembly election. Now, the number has jumped to 21 percent. To put it another way, 1 out of every 5 candidates fighting the election on December 1 has a criminal case against them.
Thirty-six percent of AAP’s candidates have criminal backgrounds while 35 percent of Congress candidates had criminal cases filed against them. Again, to put it into perspective, more than 1 out of every 3 AAP and INC candidates has a criminal case pending against them. Only 16 percent of BJP’s candidates have any criminal cases pending against them, a decline from 2017 when 25 percent of candidates had criminal backgrounds.
“The directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties in the selection of candidates in Phase-1 or Gujarat Assembly elections, as they have followed their old practice of giving tickets to 21 percent of candidates with criminal cases,” said Major General (retd) Anil Verma, Head at ADR.
An old report of the ADR also highlighted that in Gujarat, candidates with criminal backgrounds were more likely to win when compared to candidates without any pending criminal cases. The analysis of over 6,000 candidates who stood in elections in the state since 2004 found that those candidates with criminal cases pending had a 20 percent chance of winning against the 10 percent chance of winning for candidates without any pending cases.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)