Times of India | 6 days ago | 25-11-2022 | 05:30 am
AHMEDABAD: One in every five candidates in the fray in the first phase of the Gujarat assembly elections faces criminal charges, according to an analysis of 788 candidates for 89 seats carried out by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). The analysis shows that 21% of the total candidates in the first phase have criminal records, up from 15% in these seats in the 2017 elections. Importantly, the percentage of those facing serious criminal charges has increased from 8% in 2017 to 13% in these polls. These offences include electoral misdemeanours, causing loss to exchequer, assault, murder, kidnapping and rape. Among the political parties, AAP has fielded the highest number of candidates with criminal cases. Of the 88 candidates fielded by the party, 36% have a criminal record, with 30% facing serious charges. Among the Congress nominees, 35% face criminal charges, and 20% are dealing with serious charges. As for BJP, 16% of its candidates face criminal charges, and 12% of them have serious charges against them. In the first phase of 2017 polls, Congress had 36% candidates with criminal cases, BJP 25%, and AAP 11%. Constituencies with three or more candidates with criminal records have also increased from 22 in 2017 to 25 in 2022. Of the 15 candidates in the Limbdi constituency in the 2022 poll, seven have criminal cases against them. In other constituencies, termed ‘red alert constituencies’ by ADR, the situation is no different. On the Karanj seat in Surat district, four of the eight candidates have criminal records, whereas three of the four candidates on the Dediapada seat in Narmada district face criminal charges.