A staggering number of 176 MLAs in the 288-member House face criminal charges while 113 have serious criminal cases against them, most of them belonging to the ruling BJP-Sena combine
Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI – The newly-elected 14th Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra has more members with criminal background than the previous one. A staggering number of 176 MLAs in the 288-member House are facing criminal charges while around 113 have serious criminal cases and most of them belong to the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena, 65 and 31 respectively.
This disturbing revelation made by Maharashtra Election Watch and Association (MEW) for Democratic Reforms (ADR) after analysing the affidavits filed by the candidates at the time of their nominations.
The new House is also witness to a swell in the ranks of crorpati (millionaire) MLAs, from 264 from 253. In this category also, the ruling BJP tops the chart as its average assets per MLA is Rs 27.46 crore.
The dissolved Assembly boasted of 165 MLAs with criminal background while 115 with serious criminal cases.
According to the MEW and ADR, out of the 285 MLAs analysed, 176 or 62 percent MLAs have declared criminal cases against themselves. The number for the Maharashtra Assembly elections in 2014 was 165 or 57 percent declared criminal cases against themselves out of 288 MLAs analysed. As many as 113 or 40 percent new MLAs have declared serious criminal cases against them in their affidavits while during Maharashtra Assembly elections in 2014, 115 or 40 percent MLAs out of 288 MLAs analysed belonged to this category, it added.
The ADR did not analyse three MLAs as their clear and complete affidavits were not available on the ECI website at the time of filing this report.
The analysis reveals that the ruling combine of the BJP and the SS have more MLAs with criminal cases than other parties.
Among major parties, 65 (62%) out of 105 MLAs from the BJP, 31 (56%) out of 55 from the SHS, 32 (60%) out of 53 MLAs from the NCP, 26 (59%) out of 44 from the INC, and nine (75%) out of 12 Independent MLAs have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
The ruling alliance also tops in the serious criminal cases category with the SS having more such MLAs than its major partner. Among major parties, 40 (38%) out of 105 MLAs from the BJP, 26 (47%) out of 55 from the SHS, 17 (32%) out of 53 from NCP, 15 (34%) out of 44 from INC, and 6 (50%) out of 12 Independent MLAs have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
Two MLAs have declared cases related to murder (IPC Section 302) in their affidavits while there are as many as 11 MLAs in the new assembly with cases of attempt to murder (IPC Section 307) against them.
MLAs with declared cases related to kidnapping (IPC Section 363) are 4 MLAs.
The 14th assembly also has more crorpatis than in the previous House which reflects on the growing influence of money power in the electoral system.
According to the analysis, out of the 285 newly elected MLAs, 264 (93%) are crorepatis and in the outgoing assembly 253 (88%) MLAs were crorepatis.
Assets of the MLAs: The average assets per MLA in the Maharashtra assembly elections 2019 are worth Rs. 22.42 crore. In 2014, the average assets of 288 MLAs analyzed were Rs 10.87 crore.
Party-wise MLA assets: The average assets per MLA for the 105 BJP MLAs analysed are worth Rs 27.46 crore while 55 SHS MLAs have assets of Rs 13.74 crore, 53 NCP MLAs have Rs 15.01 crore and 44 INC MLAs have Rs 24.46 crore worth of assets on an average.
BJP’s Parag Shah who was elected from Ghatkopar East constituency was the richest candidate with assets worth over Rs 500 crore followed by again BJP’s Mangalprabhat Lodha from Malabar Hill seat, who declared assets worth more than Rs 441 crore.
There are three MLAs with the lowest assets. CPI(M) MLA Vinod Bhiva Nikole elected from Dhanau (ST) seat has assets of just Rs 51,000. The other two MLAs are Ram Vitthal Satpute (Congress) and Shah Faruk of All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) who possess assets of Rs 10 lakh and 29 lakh respectively.