21 percent lawmakers in poll-bound states face criminal cases

New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS) While criminalisation of politics remains a serious concern, data complied by think tanks reveals that 21 percent of legislators in the five states heading for assembly polls in November-December have criminal backgrounds.

Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram go to polls in November-December. The results will be out Dec 8.

Figures compiled by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) show 128 of the 607 legislators from these five states have declared criminal cases are pending against them. A total of 47 legislators had declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

Delhi has the maximum of 43 percent legislators who have declared criminal cases, followed by Madhya Pradesh where 25 percent assembly members have said they are facing criminal cases.

Madhya Pradesh has 11 percent legislators with serious criminal cases, the highest among the five states. It is followed by Delhi and Chhattisgarh with 9 percent each.

At 7 percent, Mizoram has the lowest percentage of legislators facing criminal cases among the five states.

Among the major parties, the Congress fielded 30 percent candidates with criminal cases in Delhi, and 31 percent in Madhya Pradesh during the 2008 assembly polls.

The Bharatiya Janata Party gave tickets to 35 percent candidates with criminal cases in Delhi and to 22 percent such candidates in Madhya Pradesh in 2008.

In the current Delhi assembly, 38 percent of legislators of the Congress and 46 percent of the BJP have criminal cases against them.

"NEW and ADR demand that all political parties should give tickets to taint-free candidates during the upcoming elections," a statement said.

The ADR said 264 (43 percent) legislators of the 607 analysed from the five states possessed multi-crore rupee assets, while 837 (12 percent) of the 6,870 candidates who contested the last assembly polls in these five states also owned assets running into crores of rupees.

According to ADR, Delhi has the highest percentage (69 percent) of legislators with assets running into multi-crore rupees, followed by Rajasthan with 46 percent and Madhya Pradesh 38 percent.

A gender based analysis showed that of the lowest percentage of women candidates were fielded in Mizoram (4 percent), while Delhi and Chhattisgarh saw 9 percent women candidates which was the highest among the five states.

Of the total legislators from the five state assemblies, only 67 (11 percent) are women.

Rajasthan has the highest percentage of women legislators (14 percent), while Mizoram has no woman in the assembly. Delhi has only 4 percent women legislators, the ADR added.

In the coming weeks, Chhattisgarh will see voting Nov 11 and 19, while the other four states will have a day's balloting: Madhya Pradesh (Nov 25), Rajasthan (Dec 1) and Delhi and Mizoram (Dec 4).

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