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Your money could win you an election

delhi Updated: Dec 12, 2008 23:57 IST
Atul Mathur
Atul Mathur
Hindustan Times
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Fighting elections is all about money power and the more deep-pocketed the candidate, more the chances of his getting a ticket and also getting elected to the assembly.

If the trend in the recently concluded assembly elections in five states is anything to go by, the above analysis could very well be true.

Of 69 MLAs elected to the Delhi assembly, 46 are millionaires. These MLAs had declared assets of more than Rs 1 crore.

In its post poll analysis of the affidavits filed by the candidates in five states — Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Mizoram — which went to the poll recently, National Election Watch (NEW), a group of over 1200 non-government organisations, has come out with an interesting conclusion.

“In Delhi, out of 42 candidates with over Rs 5 crore of declared assets, 13 candidates have managed to get elected. However, of 198 candidates with assets less than Rs 5 lakh, not only one could make it to the assembly,” said Jagdeep S. Chhokar of Association of Democratic Reforms, one of the NGOs involved with NEW.

The ratio of relatively poorer candidates getting elected to the assemblies of the other states was no better.

According to the NEW analysis, the 90-member Chattisgarh assembly has just six newly elected MLAs with declared assets of less than Rs 5 lakh. The number of such MLAs in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram is five, six and zero, respectively.

National Election Watch has also looked into the number of women candidates. While Delhi has elected just three women MLAs, Chhatisgarh has 11 of 90, Madhya Pradesh has 25 of 230 and Rajasthan has 28 women candidates of 200 members in the newly formed legislative assembly.

“Interestingly, while the number of women legislators has gone down in Delhi in comparison to 2003 elections, it has gone up in Chattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, which had just 5, 12 and 19 women MLAs in 2003,” said Anil Bairwal, NEW co-ordinator.

Despite hue and cry made by intellectuals and senior leaders, politicians with criminal background are not only contesting but are also getting elected, observed NEW. Of 91 tainted candidates contesting elections in Delhi, 27 are now legislators in the 70-member assembly.