21% candidates in 1st phase of Guj polls facing criminal cases; AAP tops: Report
A total of 788 candidates are contesting for 89 seats in first phase
Ahmedabad: A total of 167 candidates, out of the 788 contesting the 89 seats in the first phase of Gujarat Assembly election, have criminal cases against them, with 100 of them facing serious charges like murder and rape, a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said on Thursday.
With this, 21 per cent of the candidates in fray have criminal cases against them, while 13 per cent are facing serious charges.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is contesting 88 seats out of the total 89, tops this list among major political parties in the fray with 36 per cent of its candidates having criminal cases. Thirty per cent of its candidates are facing serious cases such as murder, rape, assault, kidnapping, among others, the ADR said in its report.
The number of candidates having criminal cases fielded by the AAP is 32.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led party is followed by the Congress, which has fielded 35 per cent of its candidates with criminal cases. Twenty per cent of such candidates are facing serious cases. The grand old party is contesting all 89 seats in the first phase and the number of candidates with criminal cases fielded by it is 31, the report said.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which is also contesting all seats in the first phase of the election, has fielded 14 candidates with criminal records. Percentagewise, such candidates account for 16 per cent of its total number and 12 per cent are facing serious charges, the Association for Democratic Reforms said in its report.
The Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), which is contesting 14 seats in the first phase, has four candidates (29 per cent) with declared criminal cases. A total seven per cent of its candidates have serious criminal cases this time.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, 15 per cent of candidates contesting in the first phase had criminal cases against them, the report said, adding that eight per cent of the candidates then had serious criminal cases.
Some candidates with serious criminal cases are Janak Talaviya (BJP) and Vasant Patel (Congress), the report said.
Of the 167 candidates from the first phase, 100 have declared serious cases against them in their affidavit submitted to the Election Commission. These include nine cases of crime against women, three cases of murder and 12 cases of attempt to murder. In 2017, there were 78 such candidates in the fray in the first phase, it added.
Some candidates with serious criminal cases are Janak Talaviya (BJP), Vasant Patel (Congress), Amardas Desani (independent). Other candidates with criminal record include Parshottam Solanki of the BJP, Ganiben Thakor and Jignesh Mevani of the Congress, Gopal Italia and Alpesh Katheriya of the AAP.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, Congress, BJP and BTP had fielded 36, 25 and 67 per cent candidates with criminal cases, respectively, in the first phase.
The ADR has also tagged 25 out of the total 89 constituencies in the first phase as "red alert" seats, or those where three or more candidates have declared criminal cases.