iconimg Friday, August 28, 2015

Roop Upadhyay, Hindustan Times
Mandi, October 22, 2013
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the National Election Watch (NEW), a volunteer social organisation that has taken up the issue to make common people aware about free and fair elections, have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of candidates, who have contested the parliamentary and state assembly elections since 2008.

They found that 30 sitting MPs and 127 MLAs fall under the section of “Corrupt practices and electoral offences” (inclusive of model code of conduct violations) as provided in the Representation of People Act, 1951 (RP Act).

In a press release here, the ADR said these offences vitiate the atmosphere of free and fair elections.

The ADR said the analysis of self-sworn affidavits of candidates revealed that several sitting MPs and MLAs have declared cases related to electoral offences and corrupt practices during the election period.

The ADR said 28 out of the 30 MPs are from the Lok Sabha and two are members of the Rajya Sabha. Eight MPs and 33 MLAs are from Bihar, eight MPs and 21 MLAs from Uttar Pradesh, three MPs and 17 MLAs from Karnataka, one MP and 11 MLAs from Jharkhand, two MPs and eight MLAs are from Andhra Pradesh. However, no MP or MLA have declared such offences in their afidavits in Himachal Pradesh so far.

The ADR added more information and gave party-wise details and said among all parties, 36 are from Indian National Congress (INC) that includes seven MPs and 29 MLAs, 34 from BJP with nine MPs and 25 MLAs, 16 from Janata Dal (JD-United) with two MPs and 14 MLAs, 13 from Samajwadi Party (SP) with three MPs and 10 MLAs, seven are from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) with two MPs and five MLAs, All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) with one MP and four MLAs and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) with five MLAs.

ADR and NEW recommend that candidates who contest the elections should display responsible behaviour and conduct that upholds the integrity and value of fair and free elections and candidates should refrain from activities that are considered to be electoral offences to respect the democratic spirit in the country.

Electoral offences

Electoral offences include corrupt practices during elections, threat and inducement of voter, tampering of EVM/ballot papers, public meetings during elections, denying someone the right to vote, breach or prohibition on, at or near polling stations on the date of poll, pamphlet, poster, handbills and placards, which do not bear on its face the name and address of the printer and the publisher and illegal hiring or procurement of any vehicle.