17% contestants in fourth phase UP polls have criminal past

New Delhi, (IANS): At least 17 per cent of the candidates in fourth phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections — where 53 seats will see polling on February 23 — have criminal cases filed against them, with BJP topping the list, as 19 of its candidates have criminal record, said a report on Saturday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 19 of its candidates (40 per cent) with criminal background and is followed by Samajwadi Party (SP) — 39 per cent, Congress — 32 per cent, and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) — 23 per cent each, a report by non-profit election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said.

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It shows that at least 116 candidates have declared criminal cases in their affidavits submitted to the Election Commission, with 95 of them facing serious criminal charges, like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and crime against women, among others.

The ADR has analysed affidavits of all 680 candidates from 98 political parties, including six national parties, five state parties, 87 unrecognised parties and 200 Independents, who were contesting in the fourth phase.

According to the report, seven candidates have been charged with cases related to murder, 18 with cases related to attempt to murder, 10 with kidnapping for ransom and six with related to crime against women such as assault, molestation and rape.

There were at least 21 Red Alert constituencies, where three or more candidates have criminal history.

Total 64 candidates (10 per cent) have shown total assets of over Rs five crore in their affidavits while 63 candidates (9 per cent) declared their asset value between Rs two crore to Rs five crore.

The average of assets per candidate was Rs 1.90 crore, said ADR. Interestingly, one candidate from SP has shown zero income.

The ADR reports further shows that 171 candidates (25 per cent) have not declared their PAN details, while 406 candidates (60 per cent) have not declared income tax details.