Almost half the candidates fielded by major political parties in Maharashtra have criminal charges against them, a new report has revealed ahead of the assembly polls in the state, which will be held on Wednesday.
Out of the 1,318 candidates fielded by major parties such as BJP, Congress, Shiv Sena, NCP and MNS, 49% (640) candidates face criminal charges, according to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms.
One out of Three Candidates in Maharashtra Face Criminal Charges
According to the study, which has so far analysed affidavits of 2,336 candidates out of a total of 4,119 who will be contesting the polls, 34% have declared criminal cases against themselves.
What is more shocking is that 23% (537) of the 2,336 candidates analysed are facing 'serious criminal charges' in cases such as murder, attempt to murder, crimes against women and communal disharmony.
Among the candidates of the major parties, 32% (425) face such serious charges.
According to the report, Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have fielded the highest percentage of criminal candidates, with 42% of the 218 candidates fielded by the MNS and 41% of the 278 candidates by the Shiv Sena facing serious criminal charges.
Among other parties, 20% (57) of the 287 candidates analysed from the Indian National Congress, 29% (80) out of 277 candidates from NCP, and 33% (84) out of 258 candidates fielded by BJP have declared serious criminal cases.
Apart from serious criminal charges, many candidates face other cases:
About 33% (96) out of the 287 candidates analysed from Congress, 61% (169) out of 278 candidates analysed from Shiv Sena, 43%(119) out of 277 candidates analysed from NCP, 53% (138) out of 258 candidates analysed from BJP and 54% (118) out of 218 candidates analysed from MNS have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
Haryana: 7% candidates face criminal charges
Out of the 1,351 candidates contesting for the assembly polls in Haryana, the Association for Democratic Reforms analysed the affidavits of 1,343 candidates, and found that only 7% (94) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves, a figure lower than the 9% seen in the 2009 assembly elections.
Five percent of the candidates faces serious criminal charges, with three candidates facing charges of murder.
The information is made available on the website of the Association for Democratic Reforms, which has been conducting Election Watch reports since 2004 and has obtained affidavits of the candidates from the Election Commission website.