40% of BJP candidates in this election have criminal cases against them
About 40 per cent candidates fielded by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have criminal cases registered against themselves; Congress, the main opposition party, is no different with 39 per cent candidates with criminal charges.
I know. You never truly believed this great Indian election to be fair and square, but to have criminals as our candidates—we don’t really have a choice now, do we?
Almost one in every five candidates contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections has a criminal case registered against him.
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an election watchdog which analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 7,928 of the total 8,049 candidates found that 19 per cent of them have been accused of committing at least one heinous crime.
A further 13 per cent (1,070 candidates) of them have declared serious criminal cases against themselves—offences that are related to murder, crimes against women, kidnapping and rape for which the maximum punishment is for 5 years or more.
And guess what, the number of candidates with criminal cases has increased in the last three general elections, from 15 per cent in 2009 to 17 per cent in 2014 and 19 per cent in this election.
Candidates with criminal cases saw a 26.7 per cent—or, four percentage points—increase from 2009 to 2019.
According to the law, a person convicted of any offence and sentenced to an imprisonment of two years or more is barred from contesting elections. But, those facing charges are allowed to run as the over-burdened judicial system can take decades to resolve a case.
Let’s face the facts: 4.34 million cases are pending in 39 High Courts, 29.44 million other cases are pending in Sessions Courts.
Let me give you an example: only recently, BJP MLA Ashok Singh Chandel was awarded a life sentence in a 22-year-old case for murdering five members of a family in Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh.
Chandel was a four-time representative from Hamirpur. And it took the court 22 years to render justice.
About 40 per cent candidates fielded by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have criminal cases registered against them; Congress, the main opposition party, is no different with 39 per cent candidates with criminal charges.
For some political parties, this percentage increases well above 50 per cent—Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had 50 per cent candidates with criminal charges and CPI(M) had 58 per cent.
A total of 265 (49 per cent) are red alert constituencies, meaning that it has three or more candidates with declared criminal cases. This is up 13 percentage points from 196 (36 per cent) constituencies in 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
Over 90 crore Indians are voting in the world’s biggest election, the last and the final phase of which will conclude on May 19th. The counting is on May 23rd.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have so far seized Rs 3,424 crore—Rs 830 crore of unaccounted cash, Rs 287.6 crore liquor, Rs 1,264 crore of drugs/ narcotics, Rs 985 crore in precious metals—since the Model Code of Conduct came into force on March 10th.
But that’s not all. About 29 per cent of the candidates have declared assets of more than Rs 1 crore, compared with 27 per cent in 2014. As high as 83 per cent of the BJP (361 of 433) and Congress (348 out of 419) candidates are crorepatis, ADR data showed.
Other Key Figures
- Only 48 per cent candidates are graduates.
- Over 60 per cent candidates are below 50 years of age.
- Just 9 per cent of candidates are women.