'Clean' candidates lose polls to rich 'criminals':Study

Release of findings coincides with MP's Rajya Sabha seat rate claim

'Clean' candidates lose polls to rich 'criminals':Study

Candidates with unblemished records stand lesser chance to win in elections compared to those who have criminal records, according to a study which analysed Parliament and state elections since 2004.

The study by the Association for Democratic Rights (ADR) and the National Election Watch (New) also said the average asset of MPs and MLAs with criminal cases, both simple and serious, is Rs 4.30 crore while the wealth of those with serious charges is Rs 4.38 crore, reflecting the correlation between muscle and money power in electoral politics.

The wealthy are more likely to enter lawmaking bodies with the figures showing that the average assets of the candidates are worth Rs 1.37 crore while those who finally make it have an average asset of Rs 3.83 crore.

The release of the study on Monday coincided with the controversy over Congress MP Bijender Singh’s claim that there are people who shell out up to Rs 100 crore to get a Rajya Sabha seat.

The fresh data resonates with the findings of the 2012 study, “How Indian Voters Respond to Candidates with Criminal Charges: Evidence from 2009 Lok Sabha Elections” submitted to National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.

The study by Bhaskar Dutta and Poonam Gupta said voters do punish candidates with criminal charges but tainted ones are able to overcome this electoral disadvantage because they have greater wealth as money plays a significant role in increasing vote shares.

According to the analysis by the ADR and the New, only 12 per cent (6,125) of 51,784 candidates with clean records could win the elections during the electoral battles in the past 10 years while 23 per cent (1,187) of 5,253 hopefuls with serious criminal cases managed to romp home.

The study said the BJP adheres to the general trend in the country while Congress has shown a reverse trend: The percentage of clean candidates being more than that of those with criminal antecedents.

BJP force

Forty per cent of the 125 BJP candidates with serious criminal charges managed to win both Parliament and Assembly elections. Of the 698 candidates, only 28 per cent (173) with clean image could emerge victorious.

In the Congress, 34 per cent (205) of the 605 nominees with serious charges managed to win as against 39 per cent (1,924) of the 4,915 clean candidates. The Congress fielded 6,322 candidates, including 1,407 with simple and serious charges, during the elections in the past 10 years and 2,451 of them won.

The BJP fielded 5,605 candidates, including 1,357 with simple and serious charges, and 1,689 of them won.

According to the analysis, 103 (75 per cent) of a total of 137 MPs and MLAs who got elected on Shiv Sena tickets since 2004 have declared criminal cases against them. While the RJD’s share is 46 per cent (58 out of 125), the JD-U’s stands at 44 per cent (120 out of 272).

H D Deve Gowda-led JD-S has 26 MPs and MLAs with criminal records. Fifteen per cent of its candidates with criminal records managed to win while only 11 per cent with clean records could enter the legislature.

The study shows that the wealthy are more likely to get into lawmaking bodies than “clean” ones.  

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