An analysis of self-sworn affidavits of 796 candidates out of the 810 contesting the Delhi State Assembly Elections done by election reforms groups, Delhi Election Watch (DEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), reveals that 129 candidates have declared criminal cases against them. Although political parties in the past have claimed that criminal cases against candidates are often the result of smear campaigns and political activism, a shocking 12 per cent have serious criminal cases them, which include attempt to murder, robbery, dacoity and crimes against women.
The findings come at a time when political parties are gearing up for the Delhi Assembly Elections scheduled for 4 December. The analysis is based on self-sworn affidavits filed by the candidates along with their nomination papers.
According to the report, all candidates of the SAD have criminal cases against them while 46 per cent of BJP candidates in the elections have criminal cases against them – the highest among all political parties contesting the state assembly election. The NCP and JD (U) have 33 per cent and 30 per cent candidates with criminal complaints. Both candidates contesting from SAD whose affidavits were analysed also have criminal cases against them. Even the Aam Admi Party, which claims to have candidates with clean records, has 7 per cent candidates with criminal cases.
The analysis of the two election reform groups also lists 14 “red alert constituencies” – these are constituencies which have 3 or more candidates with criminal records. However, this analysis excludes independent candidates with criminal records. While releasing the data at New Delhi today, RTI Activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal called for wide ranging electoral reforms to enable people to choose between “good and better candidates” instead of having to choose between “bad or worse candidates”. Although the poverty index continues to remain a matter of concern, crorepati candidates have gone up by 10 per cent and the average assets of candidates have nearly doubled since 2008.
However, what reinforces the belief that only rich politicians can contest elections is the 246 per cent rise in the average assets of 66 recontesting MLAs. The highest percentage increase of 1652 per cent in assets has been declared by Sat Prakash Rana of BJP from Bijwasan constituency. His assets increased from Rs 6.38 crores in 2008 to Rs 111.89 crores in 2013. Asif Mohd. Khan of INC from Okhla constituency has declared an increase in assets of 1634 per cent – his assets have increased from Rs 78.15 lakhs in 2008 to Rs 13.54 crores in 2013. Assets of Amrish Singh Gautam of INC from Kondli constituency grew by 1372 per cent, growing from Rs 8.35 lakhs in 2008 to Rs 1.22 crores in 2013.
This data, based on the election affidavits, requires the candidates to disclose their assets and wealth. However, the current polling template does not require candidates to file their sources of income.