18 pc candidates in Gujarat assembly bypolls face criminal cases: ADR report

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New Delhi, Oct 30 (PTI) Out of the 80 candidates in the fray for the November 3 Gujarat Assembly by-election, 18 per cent have declared criminal cases against themselves, according to a report by poll rights group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

The report, which also gives details of the financial background of candidates, said a total of 20 or 25 per cent of them have declared financial assets worth crores of rupees.

While a total of 81 candidates are contesting the elections, the report is based on an analysis of affidavits furnished by 80 of them.

Seven or 9 per cent of the candidates have declared serious criminal cases against themselves, while 14 or 18 per cent have declared criminal cases against themselves, the ADR report said.

Serious criminal cases are non-bailable offences with over five years of imprisonment.

According to the report, one (50 per cent) out of two candidates analysed from Bhartiya Tribal Party, three (38 per cent) out of eight candidates analysed from BJP, two (25 per cent) out of eight candidates analysed from Congress and eight (15 per cent) out of 53 Independent candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

One (50 per cent) out of two candidates analysed from Bhartiya Tribal Party, two (25 per cent) out of eight candidates analysed from BJP and four (8 per cent) out of 53 Independent candidates have declared serious criminal cases against themselves, the report said.

Two (25 per cent) out of eight constituencies are red alert constituencies. Red alert constituencies are those where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

'The directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties in selection of candidates as they have again followed their old practice of giving tickets to around 18 per cent candidates with criminal cases,' the report said.

'All major parties contesting in Gujarat bye-elections have given tickets to 25 per cent to 38 per cent candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves,' it said.

The Supreme Court had in February asked political parties to give reasons for selecting candidates with a criminal background and why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected.

The details of the financial background of the candidates were also given in the report.

'Out of the 80 candidates, 20 (25 per cent) are crorepatis. Eight (100 per cent) out of 8 candidates analysed from BJP, 6 (75 per cent) out of 8 candidates analysed from Congress and 6 (11 per cent) out of 53 Independent candidates have declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore,' the report stated.

The average assets per candidate is Rs 1.16 crore, it said.

'Among major parties, the average assets per candidate for eight Congress candidates analysed is Rs 4.38 crore, eight BJP candidates analysed is Rs 2.52 crores, two Bhartiya Tribal Party candidates have average assets of Rs 17.85 lakhs and 53 Independent candidates have average assets of Rs 70.52 lakhs,' it added.

Bypolls in Abdasa, Limbdi, Morbi, Dhari, Gadhada, Karjan, Dang and Kaprada assembly seats in Gujarat were necessitated after the sitting Congress MLAs resigned.

The counting of votes will take place on November 10. PTI UZM DIV DIV