An analysis of candidates fielded by Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for 2014 Lok Sabha elections shows that they continue to give tickets to candidates with serious criminal cases, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) have found.
ADR and NEW analysed the background details of 188 out of 301 candidates announced by these major parties till March 8, 2014 who have declared serious criminal cases of murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and electoral violations against them.
The data is based on information provided by candidates to the Election Commission of India and available on the poll panel's website.
Of the 188 analysed, 56 candidates or 30% had declared criminal cases against themselves in their previous election affidavit. The BJP has 23 out of 62 candidates or 37% with criminal cases while Congress has 33 candidates or 25% out of 126 with criminal cases.
According to ADR and NEW, the 24 candidates or 13% out of 188 analysed had declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their previous election affidavits. BJP has 14 out of 62 or 23% candidates and 10 out of 126 or 8% candidates of Congress have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
Adhir Ranjan Choudhary who is a sitting Congress MP from Baharampur constituency and Sarbananda Sonowal of the BJP from Lakhimpur constituency had declared a case of murder against themselves.
The Congress has three candidates with declared charges of attempt to murder. Among them are Abdul Mannan Hossain from Murshidabad constituency, Ratna Singh from Pratapgarh constituency and Vinay Kumar Pandey from Shrawasti constituency. All of them are sitting MPs.
BJP's Gopinath Munde from Beed Constituency and Congress' Abdul Mannan Hossain from Murshidabad constituency have declared cases of kidnapping against them.
There are four candidates who have cases related to electoral violations filed gainst them.
Nana Patole of BJP from Bhandara–Gondiya constituency and Ch Bijendra Singh of Congress from Aligarh Constituency have declared cases related to illegal payments in connection with an election (IPC Section-171H). While BJP's Ramesh V Katti of BJP from Chikkodi constituency and Congress' Furkan Ansari from Godda Constituency have cases related to undue influence or personation at an election (IPC Section-171F).
The criminal and financial details of 101 candidates who are are sitting Lok Sabha MPs were also examined by them.
Out of these recontesting candidates, 30 or 30% had declared criminal cases against themselves and 12 or 12% had declared serious criminal cases against themselves like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, etc in their previous election affidavit.
They also analysed the declared financial details of these 188 candidates and found 114 candidates or 62% have declared total assets of more than Rs. 1 crore.
Breaking that on party lines, 86 out of 126 Congress candidates or 68% and 30 out of 62 or 48% candidates of the BJP have declared total assets worth more than Rs. 1 crore.
Congress' Naveen Jindal has declared the highest assets among the 188 candidates analysed worth Rs. 131.07 crore followed by colleagues Ratna Singh with assets worth Rs. 67.82 crore and Kazim Ali Khan with assets worth Rs. 56.89 crore.
Among the candidates announced by BJP, Shivkumari C Udasi from Haveri Constituency has the highest assets worth, Rs. 32.33 crore.
As parties continue to field tainted candidates, the ADR and NEW have recommended that they should refrain from giving tickets to candidates with serious criminal cases, take a stand against misuse of money power, bribing of voters and distribution of freebies and should move towards transparency and disclose the criteria for selection of candidates during elections.