Maharashtra goes to polls on Wednesday where 4,119 candidates – many with criminal charges – are in the fray.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi got into a controversy recently by campaigning for Shivaji Kardile, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Rahori City who has dozens of criminal charges against him. Ironically, Modi while campaigning for Kardile asked voters to shun politicians with criminal background from Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
Modi has also shared the dais with Deepak Nikhalje, brother of dreaded gangster Chhota Rajan. The video of them sharing stage has been doing the rounds on social media.
Will Congress maintain its seat share in rural areas?
Political parties fielding candidates with criminal background is nothing new and Maharashtra is no exception.
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has analysed the affidavits of 2,336 candidates (out of 4,119) contesting the upcoming state elections.
Even though the report is only half complete, it covers all the 1,318 candidates from major parties - Congress, BJP, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Shiv Sena and NCP.
HT looked at the data and found that Shiv Sena and MNS lead in fielding candidates with criminal charges. A whopping 61% and 54% of candidates respectively from these two parties have criminal charges.
Further, Shiv sena has fielded the most number of candidates (114) with 'serious' criminal charges. Interestingly, most of the major parties have reduced fielding the number of candidates with criminal charges as against the previous assembly elections in 2009.
Moreover, 54% of the constituencies in Maharashtra have three or more candidates with criminal background contesting the elections.
In four constituencies of Uran, Kalina, Anushakti Nagar and Vandre East, each has seven candidates with criminal cases against them contesting. Significantly, apart from Uran, all the other three constituencies are in Mumbai.
Story ideated and written by: Sourjya Bhowmick (@sourjyabhowmick)
Edited and visualized by : Vignesh Radhakrishnan (@vinuthewriter)