Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch have released an analysis that seeks to unearth patterns in the winning of elections, ownership of assets and the criminal cases recorded against MPs and MLAs.

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The ADR analysis, made on the basis of data pertaining to 8,790 MPs/MLAs who, since 2004, have either held seats in Parliament or in State Assemblies, shows many with criminal cases against them, inculding serious ones, having assets greater in value than those with a clean record. Among these 8,790 MPs/MLAs, 2,575 or 29 per cent had criminal cases against them and 1,187 or 14 per cent were facing serious criminal charges (charges like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and theft).

The average assets of all candidates who had contested elections during this period worked out to Rs 1.37 crores. But the average assets of MPs and MLAs analysed totalled Rs 3.38 crores, those with cases 4.3 crores, and those with serious cases Rs 4.38 crores.

The data of 62,847 candidates who had contested either Parliamentary or State Assembly Elections since 2004 was analysed, of whom 11,063 - 18 per cent, had criminal cases against them. And of them, those with serious criminal cases numbered 5,253 - 8 per cent.

The percentage of those who won among the group of candidates with a clean record was 12 per cent. This figure rose to 23 per cent when the percentage of winners was taken from among those with serious criminal cases against them. "Chances of winning an election with a serious criminal record are higher than the chance of winning with a clean record," the study says.

Political parties gave tickets to 74 per cent of candidates with criminal records the second time: an analysis of the records of 4,181 'repeat candidates' showed that 1,072 of them had criminal cases against them the first time they contested an election and 788 had cases the second time too.

Data related to education and involvement in criminal cases revealed that from among MPs/MLAs who are Graduates or better qualified educationally, 27 per cent face criminal cases, 12 per cent serious ones. The figures are 33 and 16 per cent respectively for MPs and MLAs who have passed the twelfth standard 'or below'.

The crime factor also cut across gender: 16 per cent of women MPs and MLAs have cases against them, 6 per cent of them face serious criminal charges.

(Charts: T.R; Source: ADR data)