New Delhi: As many as 29 Lok Sabha candidates from various parties have criminal records, according to an analysis made as part of a national campaign by NGOs.
The parties fielding these candidates include the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Communist Party of India (CPI), and the Samajwadi Party, the National Election Watch (NEW) said in a statement Thursday.
NEW represents more than 1,200 NGOs and other citizen-led organisations working on electoral reforms, improving democracy and governance in India.
HALL OF SHAME: Twenty nine candidates fielded by leading parties have criminal backgrounds.
It looked at the candidate lists declared by political parties and checked the records of these candidates with over 50,000 records it has been accumulating since 2003.
Of the 29 candidates with criminal background, three are of the BSP, two of the CPI-M, six of the Congress, one of the CPI, 11 of the BJP and six of the Samajwadi Party, it said.
"NEW tried getting the official list of BSP candidates for Uttar Pradesh but hasn't been able to get the list as yet. Based on various media reports, it has found three candidates have criminal records based on their earlier affidavits," it said.
NEW founder member Trilochan Sastry, who is dean of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B), said: "The unavailability of records does not mean absence of criminal records. The records of re-contesting candidates may have changed since 2004 and also there are lots of first-time contestants, for whom affidavits will be available only when they file nomination papers."
"We will analyse new affidavits at that time and disseminate information to voters to make informed choice," he added.