Charges pending against 18% from BJP, 14% from Congress

If you are going to vote for a mainstream party candidate in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections scheduled for April 15, there is a 9 per cent likelihood that you are going to have a councillor with a criminal background.

As many as 23 per cent of the candidates in the civic body elections are crorepatis with one candidate boasting assets worth Rs.112 crore. While there are four candidates, including outgoing Mayor Rajni Abbi, who have a doctorate degree, 16 per cent of the candidates have passed only Class V or below.

These startling facts came out after the affidavits of 1,485 of the 2,400 candidates were analysed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) in collaboration with the National Election Watch.

“It's the voters right to know about their candidates and make an informed choice which will later shape and influence the way they live,” said National Election Watch (NEW) National Coordinator Anil Bairwal at a Press conference here on Tuesday.

At least 9 per cent of the 1,485 candidates whose affidavits were analysed declared that they have criminal cases pending against them, and of them 2.9 per cent have serious criminal cases like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery and extortion.

The Bharatiya Janata Party tops the list with 18 per cent (39 out of 211), the largest number of candidates with a criminal background. The Congress comes next with 14 per cent (28 out of 207). The Bahujan Samaj Party has 9 per cent (19 out of 214) and the Samajwadi Party 5 per cent (4 out of 77) candidates with a criminal background.

Among these 139 candidates, Jai Singh of the BSP -- contesting from Ward 167 - R. K. Puram -- has the maximum number of criminal cases. He is followed by Shoeb Danish of the Congress from Ward 205 - Zakir Nagar.

Among the richest, both the first and second spot goes to BJP candidates Satvinder Kaur Sirsa from Ward 103 - Punjabi Bagh with assets worth Rs.112 crore and Karuna Bhalla with Rs.50.63 crore from Ward 108 - Khyala. Interestingly, only 12 candidates have declared zero assets, most of them Independents.

Among the major parties, the average asset per candidate for the BJP is Rs.2.8 crore; for the Congress it is Rs.2.7 crore; the BSP (Rs.78 lakh); the SP (Rs.64 lakh) and the NCP (Rs.47 lakh).

Fifty seven per cent of all the candidates declared that they have never filed Income Tax Returns.

Compared with men, only 3.6 per cent of women candidates (25 out of 686) have a criminal background. “It seems that women candidates are the only hope for a cleaner MCD. They are three times less likely to have a criminal background compared with men,” said Bairiwal, talking about gender-wise analysis of the candidates.

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