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125 candidates with criminal records won across five states: study
NEW DELHI, DEC 12 (IANS):
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Published on 13 Dec. 2008 12:01 AM IST
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As many as 125 candidates with criminal records have won in assembly elections of five states that have just concluded, says a study conducted by the National Election Watch (NEW). "There are 125 candidates with criminal records who have been elected in these state assembly elections," Jagdeep S. Chhokar of NEW said at a press conference here Friday. NEW is a nationwide campaign comprising of more than 1,200 NGOs. "Of the 125, as many as 49 legislators belong to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 59 to Congress and 17 to other parties. There are several candidates who have cases of serious criminal charges such as murder, attempt to murder and kidnapping against them," Chhokar added. Elections for 629 assembly seats of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram took place this November and December. NEW analysed affidavits of 4,607 candidates out of a total of 7,508 candidates in the fray. Results of all the elections came Dec 8. While BJP won in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Congress won Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi. "Twenty percent of total legislators elected in 2008 have criminal cases against them as compared to 18 percent in 2003," he said. Talking about representation of women candidates, Chhokar said: "Even though political parties have time and again emphasized on stronger women representation in the legislature, the ground picture does not reflect this." "The percentage of women in the five assemblies where elections took place comes out to 11 percent. A total of 67 women candidates were elected as legislators. Unfortunately, the Mizoram assembly doesn't have even a single woman legislator this time," the study reveals. Another interesting revelation of the study is that out of the total elected legislators, 248 have declared assets of over Rs.10 million. "Of those 248, as many as 121 are of the Congress, 110 are from the BJP and 17 are of other parties," Chhokar said. Another interesting revelation of the study is that if you have money the chances of winning elections are much higher. "Overall if you have more assets your chances of winning increase manifold. But if you have assets less than Rs.500,000 chances of a candidate winning the election becomes slimmer," Chhokar added. "Only 18 candidates who have assets less than Rs.500,000 won elections this time and became legislators. In both Delhi and Mizoram there are no legislators with assets less than Rs.500,000," the study says. NEW is now sending letters to the senior and national leadership of BJP and Congress requesting them not to make the legislators with tainted backgrounds as ministers in their respective governments. "In the aftermath of Mumbai terror attack there has been considerable public display of disenchantment with the entire political establishment of the country," said Chhokar. "Even after public statements that no candidate with criminal background would be given ticket, it is disappointing that still tickets were given to such candidates. We are sending letters to them urging them not to appoint legislators with criminal background as ministers in the state governments," Chhokar added.

 
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