Ahmedabad: Political parties in Gujarat are not averse to fielding those with criminal records, according to an analysis done by National Election Watch (NEW), which has revealed that 46 candidates out of the 482 contesting in the first phase, face serious criminal charges.
"Affidavits of 482 candidates out of 846 candidates contesting the first phase of state Assembly elections have been analysed and this has revealed that 22 per cent, i.E 104 candidates, have criminal cases against them," NEW member Ajit Ranade said.
Forty-six of the 104 candidates have serious criminal offences like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, extortion, robbery, in their names, he said.
The percentage is expected to go up after the affidavits of the remaining candidates in fray for the first phase of polls and those contesting the second phase of polls are analysed.
"In 2007 Assembly elections, 23 per cent candidates had criminal cases against their names," Ranade informed news persons here.
"While Congress party has fielded 27 candidates (33 pc) with criminal cases to their name, 22 out of 87 candidates (25pc) fielded by the BJP have criminal cases in their names.
Gujarat Parivartan Party, headed by former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, has fielded 21 candidates (25 per cent) with criminal cases to their name," the analysis further states.
Eleven candidates of GPP, nine of BJP, eight Congress candidates, six JD (U) candidates, two NCP contestants and one BSP candidate have serious criminal offences to their names.
Charges have been framed against 73 of the 104 in the fray against whom there are criminal offences.
Chotubhai Vasava, the lone MLA of JD (U) in the state, has three charges of murder and one charge of attempt to murder against his name. Vasava won from Jhagadia in Bharuch district. The seat is reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates.
Maheshbhai Vasava of JD (U) from Dediapada (ST) constituency has two charges related to murder and one charge related to attempt of murder against his name.
BJP`s Jitendrabhai Somani, who is in fray from Wankaner, an Assembly constituency with a sizeable Muslim population, has two charges relating to attempt to murder.
The affidavits have been analysed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Gujarat Election Watch (GEW), the Gujarat chapter of National Election Watch (NEW).
NEW, comprising of more than 1,200 NGOs and other civil society organisations, has been working for electoral reforms, increasing voter awareness and improving democracy and governance in the country.
Jayesh Radadiya, son of Porbandar MP Vithal Radadiya, who was in news for gun-toting toll plaza employees on Vadodara highway, has two cases against his name.
Charges related to voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons and intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace have framed in his name.
Congress has fielded Jayesh Radadiya from Jetpur Assembly constituency in Rajkot district.