An average of one in four of the newly-elected legislators in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly has criminal cases against them, including charges of rape or murder. This means that 143 (36%) of the 403 elected MLAs declared criminal cases against them in their affidavits, according to a new report published by the National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms on Sunday.
Of the lot, 83 are from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which won the polls with a giant majority, 11 are Samajwadi Party leaders, four are from the Bahujan Samaj Party, one is a Congress leader and three are Independent MLAs. However, this marks an improvement from the 2012 polls, when 189 (47%) of the MLAs faced criminal cases.
The ADR-Election Watch study also found that 322 (80%) of the winners are crorepatis, higher than the last Assembly’s 271 (67%) members. The average of assets per MLA stands at Rs 5.92 crore, up from Rs 3.36 crore in 2012, while the average assets of re-elected legislators has risen from Rs 4.62 crore to to Rs 8.62 crore.
Moreover, the number of women elected to the 403-member UP Assembly has increased to 40 (10%) from 32 (8%) in 2012.
Speculation over the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh has been rife since the party swept the state Assembly elections on Saturday. The saffron party’s state chief Keshav Maurya, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha and Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma are believed to be among the front-runners for the post.
On March 11, the Election Commission declared that the BJP had won 312 of the 403 UP Assembly seats, while the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance had won only 54 seats. Polling was held in seven phases from February 11 to March 8, with a voter turnout of around 60%. The BJP had fielded candidates in 384 constituencies, the Samajwadi Party in 298, Congress in 105, and the BSP in all 403.
Uttar Pradesh is a crucial state for politics in the country. As the state has the highest number of Rajya Sabha constituencies – 31 – a win for the BJP would give it a chance to secure a majority in the Upper House.