More candidates with criminal charges for 2019 Lok Sabha polls: ADR

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 13, 2019

The 2019 Lok Sabha election saw a rise in the number of independent candidates, as well as contestants with criminal cases.

The proportion of wealthy candidates, too, has risen since the 2014 Lok Sabha election, with an overwhelming majority of the candidates of the two national parties falling in the category of crorepatis.

However, the richest candidate this time is Ramesh Kumar Sharma, an independent contesting the Pataliputra constituency in Bihar. He declared assets worth ₹1,107 crore.

Of the 8,049 candidates contesting the elections this time, 43 per cent — or 3,435 individuals — are contesting as independents.

The total number of contestants has dipped about 2.5 per cent from 8,251 in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, but the total number of independents has risen about 6 per cent from 3,235 candidates.

The data on candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, analysed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) based on the declarations in their affidavit, also show that the number of individuals associated with criminal cases has risen to about 19 per cent.

Of the 7,928 affidavits analysed, 1,500 candidates declared that they have criminal cases against them.

The ADR said it could not analyse affidavits of 121 candidates for various reasons, such as lack of clarity in the filing and delay in availability.

While some cases are minor in nature, 1,070 candidates declared serious criminal cases such as rape, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, crimes against women, up from 908 in 2014 and 608 in 2009.

Further, 39 per cent of the Congress candidates, and 40 per cent of the BJP candidates, 50 per cent of the Nationalist Congress Party candidates, 58 per cent of the CPI(M) candidates and 22 per cent of the Bahujan Samaj Party candidates have declared criminal cases.

The analysis of candidates’ data further shows that there were 265 constituencies across the country where three or more candidates with declared criminal cases were contesting, up from 245 in 2014 elections and 196 in 2009.

Assets declared

On wealthy candidates, the ADR data found that 881 candidates, or 11 per cent, had declared assets worth ₹5 crore or more, and another 678 had declared assets worth ₹2-5 crore.

At the pan-India level, 29 per cent of the candidates are crorepatis, but for the BJP and the Congress, the proportion is as high as 83 per cent.

The CPI(M) saw a jump in the proportion of crorepati candidates to 36 per cent from 18 per cent in 2014.

The number of women candidates saw only a marginal rise to 9 per cent from 8 per cent in 2014.

There are 716 women candidates contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Published on May 13, 2019

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