New Delhi: There is a consistent injection of criminal elements in the democratic process of our country. Lawbreakers are aspiring to be lawmakers and the number keeps increasing.
This time too, there are murderers, kidnappers and rapists in the line to enter the Lower House of Parliament.
From 17% in 2014 to 19% in 2019, there has been a consistent increase in the proportion of candidates with criminal cases.
As we wrapped up the first six phases of the Lok Sabha election, the National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 7,928 of the total 8,049 candidates, who are contesting in the Lok Sabha election in seven rounds.
At the launch event, one of the founding members of ADR, Jagdeep Chhokar, said, “The consistent increase in the proportion of candidates with criminal cases is a worrying sign for the Indian democracy. If more and more lawbreakers become lawmakers, then it is not a good sign for democracy.”
As many as 121 candidates remained out of the scanner due to unavailability of data.
There are 677 political parties contesting in the general election. Of these, there were 464 political parties that taken part in the 2014 LS election, while the figure was 368 in 2009.
“It implies that there has been an increase of 84% in the number of political parties from 2009 to 2019,” read the report.
“This is a double-edged sword. The number of political parties is increasing, but not all are contesting elections, which means it is a ploy to get tax exemption under the relevant Act,” Chhokar said.
“Of the 7,928 candidates analysed in the Lok Sabha election 2019, 1500, which is 19% candidates, have declared criminal cases against themselves,” the report said.
“Of the 8,205 candidates analysed during the Lok Sabha election 2014, 1404 (17%) candidates had declared criminal cases against themselves,” it said.
It added that of the 7,810 Lok Sabha nominees analysed in 2009, 1,158 (15%) contestants had declared criminal cases against themselves.
Candidates with Serious criminal cases
In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, there are 1,070 (13%) candidates with serious criminal cases, including rape, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and crimes against women, against them.
As many as 55 contenders have murder cases against them, 184 have been accused of attempt to murders, 126 nominees face cases of crimes against women, while nine of them have rape charges against them. Another 47 candidates have kidnapping cases and 95 contestants have been accused of making hate speeches.
In 2014, the total figure was 908 (11%), while it was 608 (8%) in 2009.
Candidates with declared convicted cases:
In this election, there are 56 candidates who have been convicted in criminal cases.
If looked at party-wise, there is not much difference between the two major national parties — the Congress and BJP.
As many as 175 (40%) of the 433 BJP candidates are facing criminal charges, while 164 (39%) of the 419 Congress nominees have criminal history.
Of the 381 Bahujan Samaj Party contenders, 85 (22%) have declared criminal cases against them, while the CPI(M) has 40 (58%) candidates with criminal cases (total 69 in fray).
Among the 3,370 independents, 400 (12%) have similar cases against them.
As far as serious criminal cases are concerned, BJP has 124 (29%) such candidates, Congress - 107 (26%), BSP - 61 (16%) and CPI(M) - 24 (35%). As many as 292 (9%) independents have been alleged to have committed serious criminal cases.
Some constituencies (265-49%) that have three or more candidates with criminal cases have been categorised with a ‘red alert’.
This figure was 245 (45%) in 2014 and 196 (36%) in 2009.