The granting of tickets to Pawan Kumar Bansal, B Sriramulu among others has only gone on to show that winning an election scores over morality and clean governance. The names of around 188 candidates to contest the elections have been declared so far and statistics would show that 56 of them or 30 per cent have criminal cases against them. The BJP has 23 out 62 candidates with a criminal background while the Congress has 33 out of the 126 candidates declared so far.
Justice Santhosh Hegde, the former Lokayukta of Karnataka who had prepared a detailed report on the illegal mining scam says that values that the political parties speak of is only for public consumption. When it comes to elections every party is ready to compromise to get a majority, Justice Hegde tells rediff.com.
The re-induction of B Sriramulu into the BJP has not gone down too well with many. Many within the BJP including his mentor Sushma Swaraj had opposed this move. However the fact is that Sriramulu presence in the BJP adds three seats to their tally in the Bellary and surrounding regions and hence the Karnataka BJP was eager that he returns to the party. Justice Hegde says that these persons are after power. Be it Bansal or Sriramulu, every alleged act of corruption carried out by them has been ignored with an intention of winning the elections. If these persons come to power then there is a good chance of them tampering with the files and weakening the case and this includes the mining case as well, the former Lokayukta also adds. Values that are being spoken about by these politicians are only a figure of speech, he also says.
The Association for Democratic Reforms which analyses the details of every candidate contesting the election says that political parties should refrain from giving tickets to candidates with serious criminal cases and also take a stand against misuse of money power. It is time that parties moved towards towards transparency and disclose the criteria for selection of candidates during elections.
So far in the list that has been declared both the BJP and the Congress have fielded candidates who have declared criminal cases against them. Out of 188 candidates analysed, 56 candidates (30%) had declared criminal cases against themselves in their previous election affidavit. BJP has 23 out of 62 candidates (37%) with criminal cases and INC has 33 out of 126 (25%) candidates with criminal cases.
24 candidates (13%) out of 188 analysed had declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their previous election affidavits. 14 out of 62 (23%) candidates of BJP and 10 out of 126 (8%) candidates of INC have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
2 candidates had declared cases of murder in their previous election affidavits. Adhir Ranjan Choudhary (Sitting MP) of INC from Baharampur Constituency and Sarbananda Sonowal of BJP from Lakhimpur constituency had declared a case of murder against themselves.
3 candidates announced by INC have declared charges of attempt to murder. Abdul Mannan Hossain (Sitting MP) from Murshidabad constituency, Ratna Singh (Sitting MP) from Pratapgarh constituency and Vinay Kumar Pandey (Sitting MP) from Shrawasti constituency have declared a case of attempt to murder against himself.
Gopinath Munde (Sitting MP) of BJP from Beed Constituency and Abdul Mannan Hossain (Sitting MP) of INC from Murshidabad Constituency have declared cases of kidnapping.
4 candidates announced by the major parties have declared cases related to electoral violations. Nana Patole of BJP from Bhandara – Gondiya Constituency and Ch. Bijendra Singh of INC from Aligarh Constituency have declared cases related to Illegal payments in connection with an election (IPC Section-171H). Ramesh V. Katti of BJP from Chikkodi constituency and Furkan Ansari of INC from Godda Constituency have declared cases related to undue influence or personation at an election (IPC Section-171F)
Financial- Statistics prepared by the Association for Democratic Reforms would also show that the average assets of 188 candidates analysed is Rs. 5.68 crores. The average assets of 126 INC candidates is Rs. 6.91 crores and the average assets of 62 BJP candidates is Rs. 3.18 crores. Out of 188 candidates analysed so far, 114 candidates (62%) have declared total assets (Self assets +Others Assets) of more than Rs. 1 crore.
86 out of 126 candidates (68%) in INC and 30 out of 62 (48%) candidates in BJP have declared total assets worth more than Rs. 1 crore.
Naveen Jindal (Sitting MP) of INC from Kurukshetra Constituency has declared the highest assets among the 186 candidates analysed, worth Rs. 131.07 crores followed by Ratna Singh (Sitting MP) of INC from Pratapgarh Constituency with assets worth Rs. 67.82 crores and Kazim Ali Khan (Naved Miyan) of INC from Rampur constituency with assets worth Rs. 56.89 crores. Among the candidates announced by BJP, Shivkumari C. Udasi from Haveri Constituency has the highest assets worth, Rs. 32.33 crores.
These are disappointing statistics, Justice Hegde points out. It sends a message to the youth of the country to become rich in any manner and not worry about it. However it is heartening to learn that the Supreme Court has ordered the completion of the trial in corruption cases against MP’s and MLA’s in one year. It will ensure that the percentage of conviction goes up and the chances of witnesses turning hostile is less. The average time taken for a case against an MP or MLA to complete is 7 years and after that there are appellate courts before which they would seek recourse which only increases the delay. Quick convictions and completion of trial would instill a fear in such candidates.
Investigations and convictions should be come at a quick pace. If these tainted candidates come to power the cases against them will suffer. I am sure that the mining case would too if any of these candidates came to power. I was shocked to see the statement by the CBI that some cases against Laloo Prasad Yadav should be dropped. I would like to know why this sudden thinking in cases which date back 16 years? It is clear that this is nothing but an election tactic and the CBI is narrating what the ruling party would want them to considering the possibility of an alliance.
Justice Hegde also goes on to speak about the Aam Admi Party which had promised alternate governance. What has AAP proved? No doubt they have proved that where there is a will there is a way. But they miss a crucial factor called governance which they proved was not there in the case of Delhi. The AAP is only an indicator for change, but can they bring about that change. I doubt it. There appears to be a lot of disappointment in the manner in which this party has functioned. Chaos at railway stations, dharna by their Chief Minister in a prohibited area are all unwanted acts which has not gone down too well with the public.