Home BIG STORY High Percentage of RS Candidates Face Criminal Cases: ADR Report 

High Percentage of RS Candidates Face Criminal Cases: ADR Report 

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High Percentage of RS Candidates Face Criminal Cases: ADR Report 

Analysis highlights gender disparity and wealth discrepancies among contenders in biennial elections for the upper house of parliament.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – As the biennial Rajya Sabha elections were completed across the country on Tuesday a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shed light on concerning trends within the candidate pool. According to the report, a staggering 36% of the contenders have criminal cases pending against them, with 17% entangled in serious criminal charges.

Despite legislative efforts aimed at bolstering women’s representation in democratic bodies, only 11 out of 59 Rajya Sabha candidates were women, accounting for a mere 19% of the total contenders. This figure starkly contrasts with the passage of a bill in September 2023, earmarking 33% of seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women, set to take effect in 2029.

The ADR and the National Election Watch meticulously analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 58 candidates, excluding one nominee due to document quality issues. The findings underscored the prevalence of criminal antecedents of candidates, with notable disparities across political affiliations.

The report revealed that 27% of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates, 67% of Congress candidates, and a significant proportion from other parties have declared criminal cases against them. Financial disclosures further unveiled the wealth chasm among candidates, with approximately 21% identified as billionaires, boasting assets exceeding Rs 100 crore.

Congress nominee Abhishek Manu Singhvi from Himachal Pradesh emerged as the wealthiest contender with assets totaling Rs. 1,872 crore, followed by Samajwadi Party’s Jaya Amitabh Bachchan from Uttar Pradesh and Janata Dal (Secular)’s Kupendra Reddy from Karnataka. Conversely, candidates like BJP’s Balyogi Umesh Nath from Madhya Pradesh and Samik Bhattacharya from West Bengal reported considerably lower assets.

Educational backgrounds of candidates varied, with 79% holding graduate or higher degrees, while 17% possessed qualifications ranging from fifth class pass to XII class pass. The age demographic revealed a majority (76%) falling in the 51-70 years’ bracket, while a notable five candidates passed the age of 70.

Political analysts underscored the significance of the ADR report in exposing criminalisation of politics and financial status of candidates, emphasising their role in parliamentary candidature. The glaring underrepresentation of women underscores political parties’ reluctance to translate rhetoric into action regarding gender equality and women’s participation in national affairs, despite legislative mandates.

The report underscores the imperative for robust reforms to address the intersection of criminalisation, wealth inequalities, and gender disparity in electoral politics, ensuring a more equitable and transparent democratic process.

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