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Total 18% With Criminal Charges, 23% Crorepatis and 6% Females, How Parties Picked Faces for MP Bypolls

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan flags of digital election campaign vehicles for bypolls in the state, in Bhopal, on October 13, 2020. (PTI Photo)

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan flags of digital election campaign vehicles for bypolls in the state, in Bhopal, on October 13, 2020. (PTI Photo)

A total of 82 per cent (23) crorepatis belong to BJP, Congress 79 per cent (22), 46 per cent to Bahujan Samaj Party (13), 14 per cent (2) to Samajwadi party, and 8 per cent (14) are from among independents.

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Vivek Trivedi

A total of 18% of candidates (63) in fray contesting Madhya Pradesh by-polls have criminal cases lodged against them with 11% (39) of them having serious criminal charges against them, revealed a recent report by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Congress party takes the lead in roping in candidates with a criminal background, with 50% of its candidates having criminal cases including 21% with serious charges. The BJP is not far behind- 43% of its candidates having criminal charges with 29% of them having serious criminal charges against them.

In other parties- Eight Bahujan Samaj Party candidates and four Samajwadi Party candidates besides 178 candidates also have criminal charges against them, according to their poll affidavits.

Out of the total having serious criminal charges, a single candidate named in a murder case while seven others who were involved in cases pertaining to attempt to murder. The report also revealed that out of the 28 constituencies, 10 are ‘red alert constituencies’, as there are three or more candidates in the fray who have declared criminal cases against them.

“The directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties in the selection of candidates as they have again followed their old practice of giving tickets to around 18% candidates with criminal cases. All major parties contesting in Madhya Pradesh by-elections have given tickets to 25 % to 50% candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves,” observed ADR in the report.

Meanwhile, when it comes to wealth accumulation, almost one-fourth of the candidates in the fray are crorepatis. To be precise, 23% of the candidates, a maximum of them from the BJP and the Congress, are crorepatis, the report stated.

The data revealed- 23 per cent (80) of the 355 candidates are crorepatis or multi-millionaires with average assets of Rs 1.10 crore.

Of the total, 15 (four per cent) candidates hold assets of Rs 5 crore and above, 25 (seven per cent) own assets valued between Rs 2 crore and Rs 5 crore, 77 (22 per cent) between Rs 55 lakh and Rs 2 crore and 100 (28 per cent) between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 50 lakh. In all, 138 candidates (39 per cent) have assets less than Rs 10 lakh.

Party-wise, 23 (82 per cent) out of 28 BJP candidates, 22 (79 per cent) out of 28 candidates of Congress, 13 (46 per cent) of 28 BSP nominees, two (14 per cent) of 14 Samajwadi Party candidates and 14 (8 per cent) out of 178 Independent candidates whose affidavits were analysed declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore.

The details of the top three candidates’ vis-a-vis declared assets are Congress' Premchand Guddu, BJP's Dr Susheel Kumar Prasad and Rajvardhan Singh Dattigaon with assets of more than Rs 86 crore, over Rs 15 crore and Rs 13 crore respectively.

Guddu is contesting from Indore while Prasad and Dattigaon are contesting from Rajgarh and Dhar constituencies respectively.

A total of 82 per cent (23) crorepatis belong to BJP, Congress 79 per cent (22), 46 per cent to Bahujan Samaj Party (13), 14 per cent (2) to Samajwadi party, and 8 per cent (14) are from among independents.

The three candidates with least assets are People's Party of India's (Democratic) China Begam, and Independent candidates Saurav Vyas and Sheikh Jakir Sheikh- with declared assets worth Rs 3,000, 10,000, and 17,000 respectively. However, a total of 14 per cent (48) haven’t declared their PAN details in the poll affidavits.

Besides, Sushil Kumar Prasad (Bharatiya Amrit Party), Phool Singh Baraiya (Congress) and Rajyawardhan Singh Dattigaon (BJP) have disclosed liabilities in excess of Rs 2 Crore, 1 Crore, 1 Crore, respectively.

Talking about the educational background of the candidates contesting elections- of the total, 55 per cent (195) have pursued education till primary to higher secondary level, while 21 candidates have confessed to the poll authorities that they are just literate while four others are illiterate.

Only one-third of the aspirants, 131 (37 per cent) have informed poll officers that they are graduate or pursued other courses in higher education.

Almost 90 per cent of candidates are less than 60 years of age, while only 37 candidates are in the age group between 61 to 80 years.

When it comes to representing women in these bypolls, parties hardly have reposed faith on their women leaders. As among all the candidates, only 22 (6 per cent) are females. Mainstream political parties BJP and Congress, the former has fielded Imati Devi from Dabra and Sumitra Devi Kasdekar from Nepanagar, and the latter fielded two females –Ramsiya Bharti from Bada Malhera and Parul Sahu from Surkhi.

The by-elections were necessitated in Madhya Pradesh after resignation of 25 Congress MLAs who switched over to BJP and demise of three lawmakers –Manohar Untwal of BJP (Agar) and Banwarilal Sharma (Joura) and Govardhan Dangi (Bioara) from the Congress party.

The poll-bound constituencies are- Agar (Agar Malwa), Anuppur (Anuppur), Ashoknagar and Mungaoli (Ashoknagar), Gohad, Mehgaon (Bhind), Nepanagar (Burhanpur), Malhera (Chhatarpur), Bhander (Datia), Hatpipliya (Dewas), Badnawar (Dhar), Bamori (Guna), Dabra, Gwalior, Gwalior (East) (Gwalior), Sanver (Indore), Sanchi (Raisen), Biaora (Rajgarh), Surkhi (Sagar), Pohari and Karera (Shivpuri).

The polling for the 28 constituencies will take place on November 3 and on November 10 it will be revealed if the incumbent BJP will continue to cling onto power or the Congress party will get a second chance to rule the state.


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