Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bihar Elections
BJP list has the most criminals
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 2
All major political parties have given ticket to candidates with pending criminal cases for the forthcoming Bihar Assembly elections. In fact, 80 out of 183 candidates analysed so far by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) have criminal cases pending against them, as shown in the affidavits submitted by them in previous elections.

Among the candidates announced so far, BJP has 62%, LJP 53%, JD(U) 33%, RJD 31% and Congress 24% candidates with pending criminal cases, with many of them facing serious charges like murder, kidnapping and dacoity, thereby once again proving that money and muscle power are among the key deciding factors when it comes to politics.

ADR and NEW, which has been monitoring candidates declared by political parties for the forthcoming Assembly elections in Bihar, says that in the 2005 Assembly election 358 candidates with pending criminal cases contested elections from major parties, including LJP, RJD, JD(U), BJP, BSP, INC, CPI(M) and CPI. Out of these, as many as 117 sitting MLAs, around 50%, had pending criminal cases against them, according to declarations during the last elections.

“In spite of leaders from all parties making statements that criminalisation should be rooted out of politics, we found that lists of declared candidates for Lok Sabha included candidates who had pending criminal cases,” says former CEC Gopalaswami, a NEW member.

For the coming Assembly elections in Bihar, out of the list of 87 candidates declared by the BJP, NEW was able to find affidavits for 66 candidates filed in previous elections and it discovered that 41 candidates (62 per cent) have criminal backgrounds.

In the Congress, out of the list of 77 declared candidates, NEW was able to find records of 21 candidates and it found that five (24 per cent) among them have criminal backgrounds. Similarly, LJP has eight out of 15 (53 per cent), JD(U) 17 out of 52 (33 per cent) and RJD has nine out of 29 (31 per cent) candidates with pending criminal cases.

Gopalaswami says the effort to rid the election arena of criminal elements has to begin with political parties first and they can do this by denying ticket to aspirants with criminal record. “If they fail to do that, they are merely shirking responsibility and betraying the nation,” he adds.

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