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27% winning candidates in Uttarakhand polls have declared criminal cases against themselves: ADR

As much as 27 per cent of the 70 candidates who have won the Uttarakhand assembly polls have declared criminal cases against themselves, according to poll reforms advocacy group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

The ADR said the Uttarakhand Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all the 70 winning candidates.

“Out of the 70 winning candidates analysed in 2022, 19 (27%) winning candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves. Out of 70 MLAs analysed during the Uttarakhand Assembly elections in 2017, 22 (31%) MLAs had declared criminal cases against themselves,” the ADR said.

The poll reforms advocacy group further said that 10 (14 per cent) winning candidates have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

The ADR said eight (17 per cent) out of the 47 winning candidates from BJP, eight (42%) of the 19 winning candidates from Congress, one (50 per cent) of the two winning candidates from the BSP and two (100 per cent) Independent winning candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

About five (11 per cent) out of the 47 winning BJP candidates, four (21 per cent) out of the 19 winning Congress candidates and one (50 per cent) out of two Independent winner have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits, it said.

Out of the 70 winning candidates analysed, 58 (83%) are crorepatis. This number was 51 (73%) in 2017.

The ADR said 40 (85 per cent) out of 47 from the BJP, 15 (79 per cent) out of 19 from the Congress, both winning candidates from the BSP and one (50 per cent) out of two Independent winning candidates have declared assets worth more than Rs. 1 crore.

The BJP stormed back to power in Uttarakhand after winning 47 of the 70 seats in the assembly polls.

According to the ADR criteria, a “serious criminal case” refers to any offence for which there is a maximum punishment of five years or more, or if it is non-bailable, an electoral offence (for eg. IPC 171E or bribery).

Offences related to loss to exchequer, assault, murder, kidnap, rape related, mentioned in the Representation of the People Act (section 8), those under Prevention of Corruption Act, and crimes against women also qualify as “serious criminal cases”.

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