January 29, 2017 7:13:09 pm
As many as 101 (9 per cent) out of the total 1,145 candidates contesting Punjab elections have pending criminal cases against them, including 12 candidates from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Data released by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Punjab Election Watch (PEW) here on Sunday reveals that 78 candidates have serious criminal cases pending against them, wherein four candidates are facing murder charges, 11 were booked for attempt to murder, and six are accused of committing crimes against women.
Founder of ADR and former professor at IIM-A, Jagdeep Chhokar said, “As per our data for 2007 and 2012 Punjab assembly elections, this time there are fewer number of candidates in fray with pending criminal cases.” As per ADR, four main parties including the Congress, SAD, BJP and BSP had fielded 52 candidates each in 2007 as well as 2012 Punjab assembly elections with pending criminal cases. But the number has drastically come down to 34 in 2017.
As many as 428 (37 per cent) candidates contesting Punjab elections are crorepatis. Though most of the political parties are promising 33 per cent reservation to women in panchayats and urban local bodies, there only 81 women (7 per cent) contesting in the upcoming assembly elections.
Congress has fielded the highest number of candidates (14) with pending criminal cases, AAP has given tickets to 12, SAD to 10, Aapna Punjab Party to 7, SAD (Amritsar) to 5, BJP to 2. There are 20 independent candidates facing criminal cases, too. Congress’ chief ministerial candidate Amarinder Singh, who is contesting from Lambi and Patiala, is facing four cases, as per the report prepared by ADR.
Those facing murder charges are Congress’ leader Navjot Singh Sidhu from Amritsar East, independent candidates Shiv Lal Doda and Amit Doda from Abohar, and Jasbir Singh an independent from Patiala.
Candidates with attempt to murder charges against them include Narinder Singh of Aapna Punjab Party from Amritsar East, Kikar Singh of BSP from Jaitu(SC), Kamal Jit Singh Karwal of Congress from Atam Nagar, Gurpreet Singh Kangar of Congress from Rampura Phul, Simranjit Singh Bains of Lok Insaaf Party from Atam Nagar, Vir Singh of SAD from Raja Sansi, Jaswant of SAD(Amritsar) from Ludhiana East, Shiv Lal Doda independent candidate from Abohar, Amit Doda independent candidate from Abohar, Sharanjit Singh independent candidate from Raja Sansi and Swaran Singh independent candidate from Jalalabad.
Those who are facing charges of committing crimes against women include AAP candidate from Mansa Sukhwinder Singh, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria of Congress from Raja Sansi, Manjit of Bhartiya Republican Paksha from Jalandhar Cantt., Daljeet Singh an independent candidate from Sahnewal and Avtar Singh of SAD(Amritsar) from Talwandi Sabo.
Navjot Singh Sidhu of Congress from Amritsar East has declared an income of Rs. 9.90 crore in 2015-16 Income Tax Return followed by Abohar independent candidate Shiv Lal Doda (Rs. 5.34 crore) and AAP’s Sunam candidate Aman Arora (Rs. 4.23 crore).
SAD has the highest number of crorepatis candidates (93 per cent) followed by 88 per cent from Congress and 87 per cent from BJP. AAP has also fielded 63 per cent crorepaties. Congress’ leader Rana Gurjit Singh from Kapurthala has declared assets amounting to Rs 169 crore followed by Rs.141 crore by an independent from Abohar, Shiv Lal Doda (behind bars in Bhim Tank murder case) and Rs 119 crore by Congress’ Karan Kaur from Muktsar. There are six red alert constituencies in Punjab which have three or more candidates with declared criminal cases against them include Ludhiana East, Bholath, Amritsar West (SC), Talandi Sabo, Raja Sansi and Lambi.
Seven candidates who have declared zero assets in their affidavits are BSP’s Avtar Singh from Patti, Aapna Punjab Party’s Rampal Singh from Payal (SC), SAD (Amritsar) candidate Kulwant Singh from Majitha, independent candidates Sarabjit Singh (Sri Hargobindpur), Kashmir Singh (Ferozepur City) and Kulwant Kaur (Sanaur).
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