The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is fielding the highest number of candidates with criminal backgrounds in the Gujarat Assembly polls next month, according to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). Compared to 238 in the 2017 Gujarat state election, a total of 330, i.e. 20 percent of the candidates fielded this year, mostly from national parties, have declared criminal cases against themselves.
Ahead of the 2022 Gujarat Assembly polls, the ADR and the Gujarat Election Watch analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all the 1621 candidates who are contesting in Phase I and II.
The AAP is fielding 61 candidates (34 percent) who have declared criminal cases against themselves, out of 181. 43 out of the 61 AAP candidates said in their affidavits that they are facing serious criminal charges.
Among the other major parties, 60 out of 179 Congress candidates (34 percent) are facing criminal charges, 32 out of 182 BJP contestants (18 percent), and 8 out of 26 candidates (31 percent) analysed from the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), as per their affidavits.
The report further adds that 28 (16 percent) Congress candidates have serious criminal cases against them, followed by 25 (14 percent) such candidates from the BJP, and 2 from the BTP.
The ADR defines serious crimes as non-bailable offences, which attract a maximum punishment of five years or more. These are crimes related to assault, murder, kidnap and rape, other crimes against women, and corruption cases.
85 Percent Of BJP Candidates Are Crorepatis
Money power is a bitter truth of our elections, which makes it easier for wealthy candidates to get tickets from major national parties.
The report says that 85 percent of BJP candidates are crorepatis, followed by 79 percent of the Congress candidates, and 38 percent from the AAP.
According to the ADR, the average assets per candidate for 182 BJP candidates analysed amounted to Rs 16.56 crores, followed by Rs 7.99 crores for 179 INC candidates, Rs 3.68 crores for 181 AAP candidates, and Rs 21.68 lakhs for 26 BTP candidates.
Only 9 Percent Female Candidates
Only 138 (9 percent) female candidates are contesting in the 2022 Gujarat Assembly election. The BJP has given tickets to 17 female candidates in the Gujarat polls, while only seven women are contesting from AAP.
The Gujarat Assembly polls are scheduled to be held in two phases, on December 1 and 5. The saffron party is eyeing a seventh straight win in PM Modi’s home state under his leadership, while the Congress is hoping to end its 27 years of power drought in Gujarat. Meanwhile, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has claimed that the AAP will form the government in Gujarat.