The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) which has analysed the affidavits filed by 615 candidates out of the total 623 for the first phase of polls in Uttar Pradesh, has found that almost all parties have fielded candidates with a criminal background.
Among the major parties, 21 out of 28 candidates analysed from Samajwadi Party, 17 out of 29 candidates from Rashtriya Lok Dal, 29 out of 57 candidates from BJP, 21 out of 58 candidates from Congress, 19 out of 56 candidates from BSP and 8 out of 52 candidates from AAP, have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
There are 12 candidates with declared cases related to crime against women. Out of 12 candidates, one candidate has declared cases related to rape (IPC Section-376).
Those having serious criminal cases against them include 17 from SP, 15 from RLD, 22 from BJP, 11 from Congress, 16 from BSP and five from AAP.
The directions of the Supreme Court have apparently had no impact on the political parties in selection of candidates in Phase one of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
Releasing the report, ADR said that all major parties contesting in the first phase of elections have given tickets to 15 per cent to 75 per cent candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves.
The Supreme Court in its directions dated February 13, 2020 had specifically instructed political parties to give reasons for such selection and why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates. As per these mandatory guidelines, the reasons for such selection have to be with reference to qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned.
During the recent state assembly elections held in 2020-21, it was observed that political parties gave unfounded and baseless reasons like popularity of the person, good social work, cases are politically motivated etc. These are not sound and cogent reasons for fielding candidates with tainted backgrounds.