Over 14 per cent candidates in the Uttarakhand Assembly polls have criminal records, with the BJP having the highest percentage, 27 per cent, contesting on the party’s symbol. The Congress is not far behind with 24 per cent of its candidates having criminal records, according to a report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
The BJP also has the richest candidates with its high-profile leader and contender to be picked Chief Minister Satpal Maharaj being the wealthiest with total assets amounting to over ₹80 crore.
The second richest is the independent candidate from Pauri Garhwal Mohan Prasad Kala who is pitted against Satpal Maharaj. Kala has declared assets worth over ₹75 crore. The third richest candidate is also from the BJP. Shailendra Mohan Singhal, the party’s candidate from Jaspur, who declared assets worth over ₹35 crore. Interestingly, there are candidates with total assets amounting to ₹1,100 and less than ₹500 too in the fray. Sunil Kumar, the Bahujan Mukti Party candidate from Manglore in Haridwar district has declared assets worth ₹500 as has Rajendra Singh, an independent candidate from Lohaghat in Champawat district. Aruna, an independent candidate from Badrinath in Chamoli district, has assets amounting to ₹1,100.
Among candidates with criminal record, the BJP has the highest percentage. Nineteen candidates, out of the party’s total 70 , have criminal records. Of these, 10 have been accused of heinous crimes, including murder, attempt to murder, crime against women, kidnapping etc.
In the Congress, 17 of total 70 candidates fielded have similar records. Among these 17 candidates, 12 have heinous crimes registered against them. The BSP has fielded seven candidates with criminal records in the total of 69 so far.