At least 50 per cent of the state’s newly elected legislators have criminal cases pending against them and 63 per cent are crorepatis.
Data compiled by the National Election Watch (NEW), an umbrella of more than 1,200 non-governmental organisations, and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) revealed that 184 out of the 288 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA), are crorepatis.
According to the data, 143 newly elected MLAs have criminal cases pending against them. These include 15 cases related to murder, 11 cases of dacoity, five of extortion and six offences related to kidnapping.
The NEW examined 3,297 candidates’ affidavits.
“It’s surprising how can were allowed to contest elections,” said Nayana Kathpalia, co-convener of Citispace. “There should be political reforms because many times people do not have a choice between the rock and a hard place.”
The Maharashtra Assembly elected in 2004 had 132 MLAs with pending criminal records and 108 crorepati MLAs. The number of crorepatis has increased by 26 per cent this time.
The analysis also shows that 22 of the 184 crorepati MLAs have not declared their Permanent Account Numbers numbers in their affidavits making it unclear whether they have filed their tax returns. “They should be debarred,” said Kathpalia. “Though they are politicians they should follow the rules”.
The study also concluded that candidates with money had better chances of winning the elections. “We looked at the contesting candidates and their chances of success and found if you have more money your chances of being elected are better,” said Ajit Ranade, one of the founder members of ADR.