New Delhi: As many as 34 per cent of Trinamool Congress MLAs and 51 per cent of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s MLAs elected to the West Bengal assembly Sunday declared ‘serious criminal charges’ against themselves, according to a new report.
The report, by poll rights group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), noted that of the total 213 TMC MLAs voted to power, 73 have faced serious criminal charges. Similarly, 39 BJP MLAs from a total of 77, have faced these charges.
ADR analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all the 292 winning candidates from the state’s assembly elections. While the West Bengal assembly is 294-seat strong, the Election Commission had adjourned polling for the Jangipur and Samserganj constituencies after the deaths of their candidates.
The report, released Wednesday also noted that a total of 91, or 43 per cent, winning candidates from TMC, 50, or 65 per cent, winning candidates from the BJP and 1 Independent candidate have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
That means out of the 292 winning candidates analysed in 2021, 142 (49 per cent) MLAs declared criminal cases against themselves.
In comparison, of the 293 MLAs analysed during the 2016 assembly elections, 107 (37 per cent) MLAs had declared criminal cases against themselves.
10 MLAs face murder charges, 1 faces rape charge
The ADR report also provides a breakdown of the different serious criminal charges declared by the candidates.
“Winning candidates with serious criminal cases: 113 (39%) winning candidates have declared serious criminal cases including cases related to murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, crimes against women etc,” it stated.
Of these, 10 MLAs are facing murder charges and 30 have cases related to attempt to murder.
Furthermore, 20 winning candidates have declared that they have faced cases related to crimes against women and of them, one MLA has a rape charge against him.
The criteria used to determine the serious criminal cases included offences with a maximum punishment of five years or more, non-bailable offences, electoral offences, offences related to loss to exchequer, assault, murder, kidnapping, rape, offences mentioned in Representation of the People Act and Prevention of Corruption Act, and crimes against women.
The report also analysed the financial declarations of the MLAs in West Bengal and states that 158 of them or 54 per cent of them are “crorepatis”.
It states that 132 MLAs from TMC, 25 from BJP and 1 Independent have declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore.
“The average assets per winning candidates for 213 AITC winning candidates is Rs 2.98 Crores and 77 BJP winning candidates have average assets worth Rs 1.13 Crore,” the report added.
According to ADR, 107 (37 per cent) winning candidates have declared their educational qualification to be between Class 8 and Class 12, while 180 (62 per cent) have declared that they were graduates and above.
Three winning candidates are diploma holders, one is just literate while one is illiterate.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.