BJP fields most no of candidates with criminal charges, Congress second: ADR report

Representational image: Manorama

New Delhi: As the Lok Sabha elections nears its conclusion, an analysis by the poll rights body Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) reveals that of the 8,337 candidates in the fray, 1,644 have criminal cases registered against them.

BJP tops the list
Among the major political parties, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stands out as it has feilded the most number of candidates facing criminal charges. A staggering 41.5 per cent of BJP's candidates (183 out of 440) have criminal cases against them. In comparison, 39.75 per cent of Congress candidates (130 out of 327) have similar charges. Other notable parties with candidates facing criminal cases include the Samajwadi Party (39 candidates), BSP (24), Trinamool Congress (19), and CPM (19).

Phase-wise Analysis
The analysis further reveals that 1,188 candidates are accused of serious criminal offenses, including allegations related to murder, attempted murder, crimes against women, and hate speech.

Breaking down the data by election phases, the analysis shows varying degrees of criminal involvement among candidates:

  • Phase 1: Out of 1,618 candidates, 252 have criminal cases and 161 have serious criminal cases.
  • Phase 2: 1,192 candidates were analysed with 250 of them facing criminal charges and 167 serious criminal cases.
  • - Phase 3: 1,352 candidates participated, with 244 having criminal cases and 172 facing serious criminal charges.
  • Phase 4: The highest number of candidates, 1,710, were analysed, of which 360 have criminal charges and 274 serious criminal charges.
  • Phase 5: 695 candidates were assessed, with 159 facing criminal cases and 122 serious criminal cases.
  • Phase 6: Out of 866 candidates analyzed, 180 have criminal cases and 141 face serious criminal charges.
  • Phase 7: 199 out of 904 candidates face criminal charges, with 151 having serious criminal cases against them.

The data was compiled on the basis of the information obtained from the affidavits filed by the candidates. The Supreme Court's 2018 and 2020 directives mandate the Election Commission to ensure transparency by publicly disclosing candidates with criminal cases, providing reasons for their selection, imposing fines for non-compliance, and holding party officials accountable for breaches.

Kerala analysis
In Kerala, out of 189 candidates analysed, 67 (or 35 per cent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves. 38 (20 per cent) candidates have declared serious criminal cases against themselves. While all candidates fielded by the Congress (15) have criminal cases registered against them, 80 per cent of CPM's candidate (12 out of 15) have cases against them. All four of the CPI candidates also have criminal cases. In the BJP, 11 out of 12 candidates (73 per cent) have declared criminal cases against them.

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