80% of new MPs from Bihar named in criminal cases
The number of crorepatis as well as those having declared criminal cases as per their own affidavits witnessed an increase among the new lot of members of Parliament elected from Bihar.
However, despite the increase in the number of crorepati winners, the richest candidate in the fray — richest not just in Bihar, but in India — with assets of more than Rs 1,107 crore could not even save his deposit. Ramesh Kumar Sharma, who fought as an independent candidate from the Pataliputra seat, got only 1,558 votes and finished 22nd among 26 candidates.
According to a study conducted by the Bihar Election Watch and Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), out of 40 candidates, 39 candidates were analysed and 32 of them were found to have criminal cases, while 22 have declared serious criminal cases against them. BJP’S Sasaram candidate and winner Chedi Paswan’s data could not analysed.
In the 16th Lok Sabha, 28 of the 40 MPs from Bihar had criminal cases filed against them, while 20 of them faced serious cases. Similarly, in the present Bihar legislative assembly, 141 out of 243 members have declared criminal cases against them.
The Supreme Court had last year in a judgment asked for greater accountability from political parties to check the problem of criminalisation of politics. It had suggested that candidates and parties publicise pending criminal cases so that it could come in the public domain and help voters make informed choice.
As per the Election Commision provision, candidates facing even one criminal case of any nature were required to make declarations through advertisements at least three times. It was also obligatory for the political parties to do the same three times about candidates with criminal antecedents contesting on their symbol at their own cost. However, none of this was fully complied with, apparently.
Bihar chief electoral officer HR Srinivasan said that information had been sought from the district authorities regarding compliance with the EC provision. “As per reports, some candidates have done it, others have not. Once we get all the details, we will report it to the EC for further guidelines,” he added.
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