New Delhi: Political parties in Uttar Pradesh may claim to be fielding clean candidates but the truth is that one in every 3 candidates is wanted in criminal cases. That is a 10 per cent rise in the number of tainted politicians compared to the 2007 assembly elections.
However, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh yadav said, "Our party does not give ticket to any person who has a criminal background." He was replying when asked about the former SP leader DP Yadav.
For the record, most political parties this time have vowed to keep the party clean from candidates with a shady past but on paper it's a different story. A detailed survey done by an NGO connected with electoral reforms tells a different story.
As many as 871 candidates have filed nomination for first phase which is on February 8. Out of these as many as 109 candidates of them face petty to grave criminal charges against them. What's even more shocking is that out of these 109 candidates, 46 of them are accused in serious crimes such as murder, rape, extortion and rioting.
Anil Briwal, Association For Democratic reform, says, "This is an increase of 10 per cent from last time. The figure is worrying because this year all political parties made a lot of noise about clean candidates but didn't deliver on that promise."
Poll promises have been tall and most parties promised candidates with clean image and free from criminal background but virtually all, including national and recognised state political parties did not hesitate to field criminals with even serious criminal charges against them. These include 11 candidates of Samajwadi party which face serious criminal charges, 11 candidates of BSP, 12 candidates of BJP and 5 congress candidates.
SP might have shown DP Yadav the door but it did not hesitate to field Mitrasen Yadav from Bikapur, a history-sheeter who faces 11 charges related to attempt to murder and dozens of serious crimes such as dacoity. BSP's Mayawati might have does image building by throwing out corrupt ministers but BSP candidate from Gossaignganj, Indira Pratap faces 5 cases related to murder and 5 of attempt to murder. BJP might have kept Babu Singh Kushwaha away but its Mahasi candidate Surveshwar faces charges of murder and rioting.