While the Samajwadi Party (SP) has listed the criminal cases pending against 20 of its candidates, the BJP, on the other hand, listed criminal cases of its 37 candidates, including Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya with four criminal cases pending against him.
The BJP has so far named 109 candidates. Uttar Pradesh has 403 Assembly seats.
As per the new directive of the Election Commission of India, political parties have to publicly declare why they are giving tickets to people with criminal cases against them and reasons why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates.
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The UP unit of the BJP shared the details of criminal cases against 37 of its candidates on its website.
About Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who has been fielded from Sirathu, the party said “he is extremely popular not only in his constituency but across the state”. His name was forwarded by the local district unit on the basis of merit, his social work, work in the field of uplift of the poor, the party said.
Giving reasons as to why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected in place of him, the BJP’s “Chunav Ayog Sampark Vibhag” said Maurya is the Deputy CM and sitting MLA, and he has been implicated in cases due to “political rivalry”, and therefore he has been preferred over the other candidates.
Regarding Suresh Rana, the BJP candidate from Thana Bhawan, the party said that he is a minister in the present government and popular due to his “outstanding work” in releasing cane dues of farmers.
Likewise, for Sangeet Som, who has been fielded from Sardhana, the BJP said that he has been falsely implicated in cases due to political rivalry.
The Samajwadi Party, on the other hand, uploaded a document on its official Twitter handle listing 20 candidates with details of their criminal cases and justification for selecting them. In several cases, the party said that the selected candidates work for public welfare and upliftment of weaker sections, thereby gaining “immense popularity” in their area. The party also said that the candidates helped people during the Covid pandemic. In some cases, the political background of some of the candidates’ families has been mentioned.
Regarding Davendra Agarwal, the SP candidate from Mathura seat, the party has listed four pending criminal cases against him. The document stated that a former Cabinet minister falsely implicated him in criminal cases to ruin his political career. It added that cases against him were lodged because of political enmity. The report stated that Agarwal was selected because he was better than other applicants.
Regarding Atul Pradhan, the SP candidate from Sardhana seat in Meerut, the party has listed 38 pending criminal cases against him. “The ticket has been given to him because he has been working among the people for the last several years and his political popularity is good. There is no candidate for this constituency better than Atul Pradhan. Most of the cases against him are in the public interest and political laws,” the party said.
Justifying its decision to field former MLA Yogesh Verma from Hastinapur seat in Meerut against whom 31 criminal cases are pending, the party said that he has worked among the people for the last two decades and is praised by the people of Hastinapur for his contribution.
Other candidates with criminal cases uploaded by the Samajwadi party included Rajesh Kumar Sharma from Fatehabad (Agra), Shaz Ishaq from Koil (Aligarh), Mohammad Adil from Meerut South, Vishal Verma from Ghaziabad, Gyanendra from Agra North, Harish Kumar from Debai (Bulandshahr), Banshi Singh from Khurja (Bulandshahr), Aslam Ali from Dhaulana in Hapur, Amar Pal Sharma from Sahibabad (Ghaziabad), Viresh Yadav from Arauli (Aligarh), Raj Kumar Bhati got from Dadri (Gautam Buddh Nagar), Rahul Yadav from Sikandrabad (Bulandshahr), Pankaj Kumar Malik from Charthawal (Muzaffarnagar), Madhusudan Sharma from Bah (Agra), Jafar Alam from Aligarh, Shahid Manzoor from Kithore (Meerut), and Sunil Choudhary from Noida.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath hit out at the Opposition SP, BSP and Congress, accusing them of giving tickets to “goons, criminals and rioters”. In a statement, the CM said these political parties have recalled the memories of the atmosphere of crime and riots that prevailed in the state before 2017 by fielding such candidates.
“The candidates’ lists of SP, BSP and Congress have made it clear that this election will be “vikas and rashtrawad (development and nationalism)” versus “dangai, tamanchawadi aur mafiawadi (rioters, armed criminals and mafias)”.
Targeting specifically Samajwadi Party, Adityanath said it is a party of “terrorists and rioters sympathisers”. “By giving tickets to criminal elements, the SP has shown its intentions to return the days of gundaraj and dangaraj in the state… SP president Akhilesh Yadav leaves no opportunity to support criminals, rioters and terrorists. His party has given protection to Imran Masood who had made derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party has given tickets to those who are in jails or are out on bail,” Adityanath said.
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