Battle lines for 2012 UP polls have been drawn and political parties have declared the names of their candidates for most of the constituencies. Despite all hues and cries of voters, the parties have allotted tickets to many tainted candidates who are standing trial in cases related to corruption and criminal activities. The parties decide to field such candidates in their desperation to increase their number of winning seats. The tainted candidates, after running a reign of terror for many years, are all set to enter into state assembly and it is quite possible that they could be allotted a berth in the state cabinet if they manage to win the elections.

According to a survey by ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms) which was published in mid-January, a list of 617 candidates was declared by various political parties and 77 of them had criminal background. Worse, 38 out of the 77 candidates are facing serious criminal charges like murder, attempt to murder, robbery, kidnapping, smuggling and involvement in acts of corruption etc.

Data provided by ADR/NEW
Party Declared
Candidates
Candidates with
Criminal Background
Candidates with
serious Criminal charges
BJP 220 26 13
CONG 215 26 13
SP 165 24 12
RLD 17 1 00
Total 617 77 38
Data released in mid Jan*

Justifying their decisions, the party leaders cite political compulsion on fielding the candidates with criminal background. They also claim that until a person is convicted by a court of law, he should not be considered as a law breaker.

There are 143 MLAs out of total 403 in the current UP assembly who are facing criminal cases. That means 35 percent MLAs are of criminal background. BSP has the highest number of MLAs which is 17 who are facing criminal charges while the main opposition party SP stands second with 16 such candidates. Dhirendra Pratap Singh of BSP has the highest number of criminal cases, 29, pending against him. Another BSP MLA Sushil Kumar has 14 cases pending against him. Other UP MLAs like Ram Prakash Yadav, Jitendra Kumar and Mukhtar Ansari has 11, 12 and 13 criminal cases respectively pending against them.

After nationwide movement by veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare for probity in public life, it was expected that the parties will strive to place themselves on high moral grounds. But in their desperation to capture power in UP, all the parties embraced tainted candidates and fielded them on party tickets. Here is a brief description of the candidates who have criminal background. Notorious mafia don Brijesh Singh, presently lodged in Ahmedabad jail, is contesting on Pragatishil Manav Samaj Party ticket from Saiyadraja constituency of Chandauli district. MLC Annapurna Singh’s husband Brajesh Singh is uncle of BSP MLA Sushil Singh. At the time of his arrest in 2008 from Orissa, he carried a reward of Rs 5 lakh on his head. Singh who is accused in a string of criminal cases like Pakdi massacre and Mumbai’s JJ Hospital case, has intensified his campaigning in Saiyadraja constituency.

To facilitate easy win for the jailed don, other parties have also fielded weak candidates against him. Despite denial of ticket to over 100 sitting party MLAs and dismissal of over two and a half dozen ministers in the name of cleansing drive, the ruling BSP has also shown that it has no problem in hugging candidates with criminal background. Party has appointed Manoj Tiwari as the coordinator for Patti assembly constituency in Pratapgarh district. This appointment is deemed as candidature of the person. Tiwari is accused of killing a Dalit. Police is desperately hunting for him. Again the party had allotted ticket to a tainted candidate for Kanpur (Rural) seat. But at a later stage, the candidate was replaced by another candidate.

Tainted candidates of APNA DAL: Apna Dal, floated by late Kurmi leader Sonelal Patel, has also showed no hesitation in embracing the tainted candidates. Party general secretary Anuradha Patel says, “It is for the court to decide if someone is criminal or not. Who are we to make a judgment on this?” Noted Don Premprakash Singh aka Munna Bajrangi who is accused in a number of criminal cases including the murder of former BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai is also contesting on Apna Dal ticket. Another tainted politician Atiq Ahmed who is accused in over a dozen criminal cases is also contesting on Apna Dal ticket.

Peace Party’s controversial candidate

Peace party also offered tickets to tainted candidates. An ally of Apna Dal, Peace Party has fielded Yashbhadra Singh Monu, accused in many criminal cases and freed by a lower court in Saint Gyaneshwar murder case, from Isauli seat of Sultanpur district. Leaders of Peace Party also claim that guilt of a person is decided in court.
Tainted candidates of SP-BSP

Keshav Babu Shivhare, an accused in drug trafficking case and an attempt to murder case in Hamirpur, Ramkhelawan Pasi, accused in Mohana Murder case, are contesting assembly elections on Congress ticket. The party has allotted tickets to about half a dozen people of criminal background. Samajwadi Party has once again allotted ticket to Vijay Mishra who is accused in attempt to murder on BSP minister Nand Gopal Nandi. The main opposition party in the state assembly has also allotted ticket to BSP MLA Bhagwan Sharma ‘Guddu’ for Dibai seat. Guddu is accused in a number of criminal cases.

Tainted candidates of BJP

Though the saffron party has not announced all its candidates but former BSP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha’s entry in the party has already landed the party in trouble. Moreover, the ‘party with difference’ allotted ticket to former MLA Ramchandra Yadav from Rudauli seat. Yadav is accused in many criminal cases.

Many more

Jailed mafia don Mukhtar Ansari is contesting from Mau on Kaumi Ekta Dal’s ticket. Accused of rape on a dalit minor girl, Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi is also contesting from Banda constituency as an independent candidate.

JNN