Abhishek Bhalla New Delhi, July 30, 2013
Candidates with a criminal past are more likely to win an election making them the preferred choice of political parties, it says. A candidate’s assets are likely to skyrocket after a five-year term by up to 1000 per cent.
The study, which took into account the time period between 2004 and 2013, also highlights the correlation between money and criminality.
‘Tainted’ candidates were found to be wealthier than others. The average assets of MPs and MLAs with serious criminal cases were worth Rs.4.38 crore.
Crime and money nexus Professor Jagdeep Chokkar, who worked at IIM Ahmedabad and is a founder member of ADR and NEW, says: “(The) nexus between crime and money has been exposed… If the electoral process is governed by crime and money what moral rights do we have to call ourselves a democracy.”
Candidates with a clean record lag behind in the electoral race. According to the study, there is only 12 per cent chance of winning for a ‘clean’ candidate as compared to 23 per cent winning possibility for a ‘criminal’ candidate. About 74 per cent candidates with a criminal background got tickets for a second time, the study points out.
Serious questions The NGO analysed the record of 7,950 MPs and MLAs who have held seats since 2004. A total of 11,063 (18 per cent) out of 62,847 candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves, while 5,253 (8 per cent) out of the 11,063 candidates declared serious criminal cases
The highest percentage of criminal candidates was from Shiv Sena. Of 137 Sena MPs or MLAs, 103 have declared criminal cases. Out of 1,689 BJP MPs or MLAs, 520 have declared criminal cases; while of the 2,451 Congress MPs or MLAs, 527 declared so. The report says 162 (30 per cent) of the 543 present Lok Sabha members face “criminal cases” and 76 others “serious criminal cases
The abnormal growth in assets of candidates also poses serious questions on their integrity as the average increase of assets of a common citizen is nowhere near the increase of politicians. Total 62,847 candidates contested either state or parliamentary elections, of them 4,181 candidates re-contested elections. Of these, the assets of about 1,615 candidates showed an increase of over 200 per cent, 684 showed an increase of over 500 per cent and 317 candidates of over 1000 per cent. In terms of assets, it was Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) which tops the chart with average assets of a candidate being Rs.6.02 crore.
Hardly any positives
The report released on elections, crime and money is based entirely on self-declared affidavits of the candidates. “As per the Supreme Court order, election candidates have to submit an affidavit declaring details of criminal record, education and assets. Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has been systematically collecting and compiling information from these affidavits as and when they were filed since 2004,” said Professor Trilochan Sastry, faculty, IIM Bangalore and founder member of National Election Watch, ADR.
The association has analysed the details of 62,847 candidates. “It’s high time that a country like ours got leaders who were honest and more capable to form the government. Our analysis shows that 30 per cent Lok Sabha MPs and 17 per cent sitting MPs from Rajya Sabha have serious criminal cases against them. There is no positive sign in the analysis that has come out,” said Professor Sastry. “Many years ago, Lal Bahadur Shastri had resigned as railway minister taking moral responsibility of a train accident. That’s the standard we expect from the leaders,” he added.
– With inputs from Neha Pushkarna , in India Today
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