100 facing criminal cases, 211 crorepatis for 1st phase of Guj polls: ADR report

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Of the 788 candidates contesting 89 seats in the first phase of the Gujarat polls scheduled to take place in the first week of December this year, 100 of them have serious criminal charges, while 211 are crorepatis, a report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) on Thursday mentioned.

ADR is a registered NGO working for electoral reforms in the country and the Gujarat Election Watch.

With this, 21% of the candidates have criminal cases against them, while 13% are facing serious charges compared to 15% and 8% in the 2017 elections. Whereas, 27% of the total number of candidates in the fray have assets worth more than 1 crore.

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Of the 100 candidates facing criminal charges include 26 from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), 18 from the Congress, 11 from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and 35 independents. The other 10 are from parties like Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) etc.

In the first phase of the 2017 polls, Congress had 36% of candidates with criminal cases, BJP 25%, and AAP 11%.

The criteria for serious criminal charges for the ADR report include non-bailable offences, offences for which maximum punishment is of 5 years or more, and offences that are related to assault, murder, kidnap, and rape, among others.

According to the report, a total of 12 candidates are facing charges related to an attempt to murder. Nine candidates have declared cases related to crime against women and three cases related to murder.

Notably, there’s no law prohibiting people having criminal cases against them from contesting the polls. However, convicted felons cannot contest polls.

As per the guidelines, political parties at the central and state election level must upload on their website detailed information regarding candidates with pending criminal cases including the nature of the offences.

According to the report, as far as the assets of the candidates are concerned, of the 788 candidates, 211 (27%) have assets over 1 crore as compared to 198 (21%) during the 2017 Gujarat assembly elections phase 1.

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The average of assets per candidate contesting in the Gujarat polls this time Phase I is 2.88 crore, up from 2.16 crore in 2017.

The BJP, which has ruled the state since 1998 has the richest candidates with an average net worth of 13.40 crore. The number for the Congress is 8.38 crore and AAP 1.99 crore.

In terms of education, 62% (492) of the candidates have studied only till classes 5 and 12 while 185 are graduates and above, and 21 are diploma holders. As many as 57 candidates are literate, while 37 others are illiterate, the report mentioned.

A total of 69 women – 9% of the total candidates – are contesting the first phase, up from 57 in 2017.

The first phase in Gujarat will go to polls on December 1 and second phase on December 5, the counting of votes will take place on December 8.



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