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21 per cent legislators in poll-bound states have criminal backgrounds

While criminalisation of politics remains a serious concern, data complied by think tanks reveals that 21 percent of legislators in the five states heading for assembly polls in November-December have criminal backgrounds.

Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram go to polls in November-December. The results will be out Dec 8.

Figures compiled by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) show 128 out of the 607 legislators from these five states have self-declared pending criminal cases. A total of 47 legislators had declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

Delhi has the maximum of 43 percent legislators with declared criminal cases, followed by Madhya Pradesh where 25 percent assembly members have declared criminal cases against themselves.

Madhya Pradesh has 11 percent MLAs with serious criminal cases, highest among the five. It is followed by Delhi and Chhattisgarh with 9 percent each.

At 7 percent, Mizoram has the lowest percentage of legislators with criminal cases among the five states.

Among the major parties, the Congress fielded 30 percent candidates with criminal cases in Delhi, and 31 percent in Madhya Pradesh during the 2008 assembly polls.

The Bharatiya Janata Party gave tickets to 35 percent candidates with criminal cases in Delhi and to 22 percent tainted candidates in the 2008 Madhya Pradesh assembly elections.

In the current Delhi assembly, 38 percent of legislators of the Congress and 46 percent of the BJP have criminal cases pending against them.

"NEW and ADR demand that all political parties should give tickets to taint-free candidates during the upcoming elections," a statement said.

Chhattisgarh will see voting Nov 11 and 19, while the other four states will have a day's balloting: Madhya Pradesh (Nov 25), Rajasthan (Dec 1) and Delhi and Mizoram (Dec 4). 

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