They have serious crime cases registered against them for allegedly committing murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery and extortion. One of them is even facing 15 criminal cases including nine for serious offences.

These are not the people wanted by the police or against whom rewards have been announced in Uttar Pradesh.

They are the contestants of the major political parties, including the ruling Bahujan Samaj party (BSP) and the main opposition Samajwadi Party, in the February 11 second phase of Assembly election in U.P. covering 59 constituencies.

Interestingly out of 337 candidates, whose affidavits have been analysed by the U.P. unit of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), for the phase 2 poll, 118 candidates have filed sworn affidavits declaring that criminal cases are pending against them. And of them 55 have said that they face serious criminal charges like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery and extortion etc.

While Mokhtar Ansari of Quami Ekta Dal, contesting from Mau and Ghosi constituencies, has declared that he was facing 15 criminal cases including nine under serious sections of the Indian Penal Code, Upendra, a representative of SP in Phephana constituency and Javed Iqbal of BSP in Kushi Nagar have declared that they are facing 11 and five criminal cases respectively.

Political parties may claim that they give tickets only to persons with clean image or those who were honest. But when it comes to giving party nominations, they throw these claims to the wind and not hesitate to prefer “muscle power or persons with criminal background”.

Of the 59 candidates nominated by SP in this phase of poll, 30 have some cases or the other of criminal nature. The ruling BSP has given seats to 23 (out of 59) to such persons with “criminal background” and the BJP and the Congress, the two main national parties, too have proved that they were second to none in encouraging “such” candidates. The BJP’s tally is 20 (55) and the Congress’ is less with one at 19 (59) in this “record”.

Similarly eight nominees (35) of the Peace Party and 12 (50) of the Janata Dal (United) have declared they have some criminal cases registered against them.

Even in the tally of contestants facing serious offences like murder, attempt to murder, robbery etc the SP tops the list by giving seats to 12 such persons, followed by BSP and Congress-10 each, BJP-nine, JD (U) – seven, Peace Party-three, Quami Ekta Dal-two and Apna Dal-one.

Not only “muscle power” the party nominees have even “money power” with each of the ruling BSP candidates’ having an average asset of Rs.3.38 crore. It is Rs.2.13 crore for a SP candidate, Rs.2.03 crore for a Peace Party nominee, Rs.1.68 crore for Congress, Rs.1.36 crore for Quami Ekta Dal, Rs.1.24 crore for BJP, Rs.61.02 lakh for JD (U) and Rs.13.68 lakh for each of the Apna Dal nominee.

Sources said as per rules, only those persons who have been convicted with imprisonment for two or more years in a criminal case could be barred from contesting elections and as such this would not apply to those facing trial or against whom charge sheet have been filed in the court. In a few cases relating to corrupt practices even mere conviction by the court is enough to debar such candidates, they said.

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