1st phase: Money, muscle power rule the roost in ticket distribution

Patna: Money and muscle power have become an ugly reality of Indian democracy, paving way for corruption in the entire polity. Not only in richer
states, even the poor state like Bihar is also bracing with the reality.

The trend is seen in every election despite champions of democracy keeps
calling for a curb on it. “One should not expect to curb corruption when the
contesting an election is increasingly becoming expensive. From buying party tickets to managing booth level workers involve huge expenses which are largely borne out by candidates. It is simply absurd to expect them to remain clean after winning polls,” said Sohail Khan, who has been involved in psephology work in the ongoing polls.

Candidates with criminal background

According to Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), of the 1,064
candidates in the fray in the first phase of Bihar assembly election, 328 (31%) candidates are with criminal cases and 244 (23%) are with serious criminal cases. Besides, 375 are crorepati candidates, said the ADR, a democracy advocacy body, which analysed self-sworn affidavits of 1064 out of total 1066 candidates.

Among the parties, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has fielded most
candidates with criminal background in Phase 1 followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Out of 41 RJD candidates the ADR analysed, 30 (73%) were found to have criminal backgrounds. The BJP has 21 (72%) out of 29 candidates have a criminal background in the first phase, said the ADR. Among others, according to statistics quoted in a section of press are: “Twenty-four (59 per cent) out of 41 candidates analysed from Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), 12 (57 per cent) out of 21 candidates analysed from Congress, 15 (43 per cent) out of 35 candidates analysed from JD(U), and 8 (31 per cent) out of 26 candidates analysed from Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.”

Crorepati candidates

As many as 375 (35%) candidates are crorepati, said the report. It added that 93 (9%) candidates have declared assets worth Rs 5 crore and above, 123 (12%) candidates have declared assets worth Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore. The average assets per candidate in the phase 1 is around Rs 1.99 crore, according to the ADR.

Among the crorepati candidates, RJD again come first as 39 contestants (95%) have declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore. It is followed by the JD-U and the BJP. The JD-U has 31 (89%) crorepati candidates and the BJP has 24 (83%). The LJP has 30 (73%) crorepati candidates in the first phase. The Congress has 14 (67%) and the BSP has 12 (46%) crorepati candidates.

Referring to the ADR report, a section of press writes, “Among major parties, the average assets per candidate for 35 JD(U) candidates analysed is Rs. 8.12 crore, 41 RJD candidates analysed is Rs 6.98 crore, 21 Congress candidates have average assets of Rs 6.03 crore, 41 LJP candidates have average assets of Rs 4.62 crore, 29 BJP candidates have average assets of Rs 3.10 crore and 26 BSP candidates have average assets worth Rs. 1.36 crore.”

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