One-Third of Winners of Indian Election Charged with Crimes including 10 with Murder
Criminality is trending upward with each new elected parliament in India, where politicians with shady backgrounds are proving popular at the polls.
In last month’s national elections, 34% of the winners (185 out of 542) have been charged with breaking the law. That’s up from a decade ago when 24% of members of Parliament faced criminal charges, and five years ago when the rate was 30%.
Among this year’s new crop of legislators, 112 (or 21%) face “serious” criminal allegations, such as murder, attempted murder, rape, kidnapping and “communal disharmony,” which can include members of one religion attacking those of another. Ten face charges of homicide, and 17 with attempted homicide. The number of those charged with violent crimes is also up from 2009, when the rate was 15%.
It’s not that constituents are unaware of the candidates’ records. “Though in the eyes of the law they may be criminals, several political candidates with serious criminal charges against them have a Robin Hood image in the constituency,” Sanjay Kumar, a political analyst and director at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, a research institute in North Delhi, told The New York Times.
One of the many bad boys elected to office is Satish Chandra Dubey, whose rap sheet features charges of murder, attempted murder, rioting with a deadly weapon, robbery, theft and killing or maiming of cattle, according to The Times. He is also suspected of narcotics smuggling and bank robbery.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley
To Learn More:
Lok Sabha 2014 Winners - Analysis of Criminal and Financial Background Details of Winners (Association for Democratic Reforms)
Analysis of Comparison of Declared Criminal Cases and Financial Details of Re-elected MPs in Lok Sabha 2014 elections (Association for Democratic Reforms)
In the Newly Elected Indian Parliament, Worrying Trends (by Neha Thirani Bagri, New York Times)
35% of Candidates in India Election Have Criminal Charges Pending, Including 47 for Murder (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
153 Newly-Elected Legislators in India Face Criminal Charges (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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