Should it surprise us that gangster turned politician Arun Gawli will contest elections from Byculla, even though he in jail? And underworld don Chhota Rajan’s brother Deepak Nikalje, filed his nomination for contesting the state assembly election from Chembur?
Not really. Especially when 45 per cent of the 288 sitting MLA’s — 132 of them — have 418 pending criminal cases against them. Sitting MLA from Ulhasnagar, Pappu Kalani, has impending murder charges against him. An analysis by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) on the basis of affidavits filed by the MLAs reveals this trend.
Of the MLAs who have cases against them 45 are from the Shiv Sena, 33 from the BJP, 21 from the NCP and 16 from the Congress. “The affidavits have been attested by the MLAs themselves when they filed for nominations in the 2004 assembly elections. The crimes fall under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and range between grievous crimes like murder and abduction to minor crimes like holding unlawful assembly,” said Anil Bairwal, National Coordinator, ADR.
The analysis also shows that out of the three states going to polls this October, Maharashtra tops the list of outgoing MLAs with a criminal background (132 out of 288), followed by Haryana (28 of 90 MLAs) and Arunachal Pradesh (3 out of 60 MLAs).