As many as 27 ministers in the Maharashtra cabinet have criminal charges against them and 18 of them face serious criminal charges. The Supreme Court on Thursday directed all political parties to upload reasons for selecting candidates with pending criminal cases on their websites.
An analysis of the affidavits filed by the 288 candidates, who fought the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections and became MLAs, reveals that 40 per cent of them are facing serious criminal charges, including murder, attempt to murder and kidnapping, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
As many as 113 or 40 per cent have declared in their affidavits — filed with the Election Commission — that serious criminal cases have been registered against them. At the same time, 176 or 61 per cent of MLAs declared that criminal cases were pending against them.
The BJP, which is now the opposition party, has the highest number of MLAs with criminal cases registered against them. Of the 105 BJP MLAs, 65 have criminal cases pending against them.
For the Shiv Sena, 31 of the 56 MLAs face criminal charges. The NCP has 32 MLAs out of 54 facing criminal cases. Of the 44 Congress MLAs, 26 are facing criminal cases.Of the 12 independent MLAs, nine are facing criminal cases.
As many as, 40 BJP MLAs (38 per cent) are facing serious criminal cases. Twenty six from Shiv Sena (47 per cent), 17 from NCP (32 per cent), 15 from Congress (34 per cent) and six (50 per cent) independents are facing serious criminal cases.
The MPs who were elected to Lok Sabha from 48 seats in Maharashtra also have criminal cases registered against them. Thirteen of the 23 MPs in BJP face criminal charges, with six of them facing serious criminal charges like murder, attempt to murder, criminal intimidation and kidnapping.
Of the Shiv Sena’s 18 MPs, 11 face criminal charges and five of them face serious criminal charges. Of the four NCP MPs, two are facing criminal charges. The Congress has only one MP who is facing criminal charges.
The AIMIM has one MP who is facing both criminal as well as serious criminal charges.
BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said the party will follow the Supreme Court directives. “We will have to see the actual order and then comment, especially whether the apex court has sought reasons for selecting candidates with criminal backgrounds.”
Maharashtra Deputy Election Officer A N Valvi said they don’t collate the information. “If you want to know the criminal cases against MLAs, then you will have to check the affidavits filed by the candidates. We don’t keep the information in statistical form,” he said.
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