Bihar Election Watch says the JD(U), the BJP and the RJD fielded candidates with criminal records between 2004 and 2014 in the state
Patna: At a time when the Supreme Court has asked Parliament to enact a law to “cure the malignancy” of criminalisation of politics, an NGO has pointed out that 96 out of the 243 Bihar legislators are facing criminal charges.
Statistics submitted by petitioners in the Supreme Court suggested that over 30 per cent of lawmakers across the country were facing serious criminal cases.
NGO Association for Democratic Reforms’ (ADR) report, which was shared with the court, also showed that in some cases “serious criminal offences” are pending against lawmakers.
Bihar Election Watch (BEW), a wing of the ADR, also released data recently to reveal that most of the leading political parties, especially the BJP, JD(U) and the RJD, fielded candidates with criminal records between 2004 and 2014 in the state.
According to ADR data analysis report available with this newspaper, there has been an increase of 122 per cent in the number of candidates with declared criminal cases who contested Lok Sabha elections from 2004 to 2014. The ADR data analysis also reveals that 184 candidates in fray for Lok Sabha elections in 2014 had declared cases against them.
BEW also claimed that it found an increase of 87 per cent in the number of elected MPs with declared criminal cases from 2004 to 2014.
As per the data, almost all elected RJD MPs in 2014 had declared criminal cases against them. While the 64 per cent of elected MPs from BJP and 50 per cent of JD(U) had declared pending criminal charges against them.
The BJP had won 22 seats in the 2014 general elections, the RJD four seats and the JD(U) which was not part of the NDA and contested alone had won just two seats.
ADR state coordinator Rajiv Kumar said that as many as 96 of the total of 243 elected MLAs in Bihar are also facing serious criminal charges. The RJD which is the largest party in the state assembly has 34 MLAs with criminal records, 27 legislators of the ruling JD(U) and 19 MLAs of the BJP have criminal cases pending against them.
The Congress which is part of Mahagathbandhan in Bihar is also not lagging behind. As many as 11 of the 27 party MLAs have serious criminal cases against them.
Similarly, in 2010, 39 MLAs of the JD(U) had declared serious criminal cases against them followed by the BJP with 23 MLAs.
Rajiv Kumar urged political parties to “stop fielding candidates with tainted backgrounds and criminal records”.
Expressing his views on the criminalisation of politics social scientist S. Narayan told this newspaper, “Presidents of all political parties should sit together and decide to field candidates who are educated and have no criminal cases pending against them.”
In a veiled reference to RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, he said that “practically this exercise looks difficult as some of the leading politicians are also facing criminal or corruption charges and few of them have even been convicted and are now languishing in jail”.