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Punjab Polls: 25% Candidates Facing Criminal Charges, Up from 9% in 2017, Says Report

By: Nivedita Singh

CNN-News18

Last Updated: February 11, 2022, 18:37 IST

New Delhi

The Punjab Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 1,276 candidates of the 1,304 who are contesting the Punjab Assembly Elections 2022. (Representational pic/PTI)

The Punjab Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 1,276 candidates of the 1,304 who are contesting the Punjab Assembly Elections 2022. (Representational pic/PTI)

Punjab elections 2022: Among the major parties, 68% candidates from Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), 50% from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and 38% from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have declared criminal cases against themselves.

The upcoming Punjab polls will have at least 315 candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves, more than three times the number in the 2017 assembly elections, a new report stated.

The Punjab Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 1,276 candidates of the 1,304 who are contesting the Punjab Assembly Elections 2022. They have not analysed 28 candidates as their affidavits were either badly scanned or complete affidavits were not uploaded on the ECI website.

“Of the 1,276 candidates analysed, 315 (25%) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves. In the 2017 Punjab Assembly Elections, of the 1,145 candidates analysed, 100 (9%) had declared criminal cases against themselves,” the report released on Friday said.

Further, 218 candidates have declared serious criminal cases against themselves, up from 77 in 2017 Punjab Assembly Elections.

Nearly half, 57 of the 117 constituencies are Red alert constituencies — where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

Among the major parties, 68% candidates from Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), 50% from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and 38% from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have declared criminal cases against themselves. Further, 15% from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), 14% from the Congress and 11% from Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) have also declared criminal charges.

In addition, 63% of SAD candidates and 23% from AAP are facing serious charges, while in BJP this share is 21%. For the BSP, it is 15% and 8% of the Congress candidates have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

“Fifteen candidates have declared cases related to crimes against women. Two candidates have declared cases related to rape (Indian Penal Code section 376),” the report said.

Four candidates have declared cases related to murder (IPC section 302) against themselves and 33 candidates have declared cases related to attempt to murder (IPC section 307).

Of the 1,276 candidates, 521 (41%) are crorepatis. In 2017 Punjab Assembly Elections, of the 1,145 candidates, 428 (37%) were crorepatis.

“The role of money power in our elections is evident from the fact that all major political parties give tickets to wealthy candidates,” the report said.

The average of assets per candidate contesting in the Punjab Assembly Elections 2022 is Rs 4.31 crore, in 2017, it was Rs 3.49 crore.

Further, just 90 (7%) women candidates are contesting the Punjab assembly elections 2022. In 2017, 81 (7%) candidates were women.

Voting in Punjab’s 117 assembly seats will be held in a single phase on February 20 and the counting will take place on March 10.

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first published:February 11, 2022, 18:20 IST
last updated:February 11, 2022, 18:37 IST