92 candidates with serious criminal cases contesting in Gujarat Elections Phase II

The Gujarat Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the affidavits of all 833 candidates who are contesting in the Gujarat Assembly Elections Phase II in the following 93 constituencies.
Criminal Background
Out of 833 candidates analysed, 163 (20%) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves. In the 2017 Gujarat Assembly Elections Phase II, out of 822 candidates analysed, 101 (or 12%) had declared criminal cases against themselves.
92 (11%) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves. In the 2017 Gujarat Assembly Elections Phase II, 64 (8%) candidates had declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
Among the major parties, 29 (32% of the total) out of 90 INC candidates, 29 (31% of the total) out of 93 AAP candidates, 18 (19%) out of 93 BJP candidates, and 4 (33% of the total) out of 12 Bhartiya Tribal Party candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
Among the major parties, 10 (11%) out of 90 candidates analysed from INC, 17 (18%) out of 93 candidates analysed from AAP, 14 (15%) out of 93 candidates analysed from BJP, and 1 (8%) out of 12 candidates analysed from Bhartiya Tribal Party have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
Nine candidates have declared cases related to crime against women. Out of 9 candidates, 1 has declared a case related to rape (IPC Section 376).
Two candidates have declared cases related to murder (IPC Section 302) against themselves. Eight candidates have declared cases related to Attempt to murder (IPC Section 307) against themselves.
19 (or 20%) out of 93 constituencies are Red Alert constituencies. Red alert constituencies are those where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
The directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties’ selection of candidates in Phase II of the Gujarat Assembly Elections, as they have again followed their old practise of giving tickets to around 20% of candidates with criminal cases. All of the major parties running in Gujarat’s phase II elections have given tickets to 19% to 33% of the candidates who have declared criminal charges against themselves. In in its directions dated 13th February, 2020, the Supreme Court specifically instructed political parties to give reasons for such selection and explain why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates. As per these mandatory guidelines, the reasons for such selection have to be with reference to the qualifications, achievements, and merit of the candidate concerned. During the recent six state assembly elections held in 2022, it was observed that political parties gave unfounded and baseless reasons like the popularity of the person, does good social work, cases are politically motivated, etc. These are not sound and cogent reasons for fielding candidates with tainted backgrounds. This data clearly shows that political parties have no interest in reforming the electoral system, and our democracy will continue to suffer at the hands of lawbreakers who become lawmakers. Out of the 833 candidates, 245 (29%) are crorepatis. In the 2017 Gujarat Assembly Elections Phase II, out of 822 candidates, 199 (24%) were crorepatis. The role of money power in our elections is evident from the fact that all major political parties give tickets to wealthy candidates. Among the major parties, 77 (86%) out of 90 candidates analysed from INC, 75 (81%) out of 93 candidates analysed from BJP, and 35 (38%) out of 93 candidates analysed from AAP have declared assets valued at more than Rs 1 crore.
The average of assets per candidate contesting in the Gujarat Assembly Elections 2022 Phase II is Rs 4.25 crore. In 2017 Gujarat Assembly Elections Phase II, the average assets per candidate for 822 candidates were Rs 2.39 crore.
Among major parties, the average assets per candidate for 93 BJP candidates analysed is Rs. 19.58 crore, 90 INC candidates analysed is Rs 7.61 crore, 93 AAP candidates have average assets of Rs 5.28 crore and 12 Bhartiya Tribal Party candidates have average assets worth Rs 19.69 lakh.
The top 3 candidates with highest declared assets, contesting in the Gujarat Assembly Elections Phase II are BJP candidate Jayantibhai Somabhai Patel contesting from Mansa with total assets worth Rs 661 crore, BJP candidate Balvantsinh Chandansinh Rajput contesting from Sidhpur with total assets worth Rs 372 crore and AAP candidate Ajitsinh Parsottamdas Thakor contesting from Dabhoi with total assets worth Rs 343 crore.

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