New Delhi: An analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) for the last decade shows that 62,847 candidates had average assets of Rs 1.37 crore. But candidates who won elections had average assets of Rs 3.83 crore. It also shows that muscle power and dominant persons had made the politics a profitable affair.
An interesting fact is that the wealth of legislators who faced criminal cases rose even more to Rs 4.30 crore and MPs and MLAs facing serious pending charges like murder, kidnapping and rape were on top of the heap with average assets of Rs 4.38 crore.
The study says that candidates who not only combine the cocktail of politics, criminality and crores have a higher chance of re-contesting; they also have a better record in winning elections than candidates with a clean record. The study by ADR, a think-tank working on electoral reforms, is based on self-sworn affidavits filed by candidates before the Election Commission of India.
ADR also exposed the doublespeak of political parties. The analysis of criminal records of 4,181 repeat candidates shows that 1,072 of them had a criminal case the first time they contested an election and 788 had cases the second time also. This indicates that political parties gave tickets to 74% of candidates with criminal records the second time despite being aware of their dubious background.
ADR’s Professor Trilochan Shastry said that out of the 62,847 parliamentary and assembly candidates since 2004, 11,063 or 18% have declared criminal cases against themselves. Of these, 8% or 5,253 have declared ‘serious’ criminal cases. Speaking on the study, Shastry said, “Criminalization is a fact which can’t be denied. Money plays a big role in elections and criminalization makes it worse.”