13 December, Bhubaneswar
As many as 52 out of the total 147 MLAs in Odisha Assembly have declared pending criminal cases against them at the time of contesting elections held in 2014, Odisha Election Watch, a voluntary organisation today claimed.
The Election Watch said the pending criminal cases reflected in the affidavits submitted by the legislators were analysed by Association for Democratic Rights (ADR) .
The Supreme Court had pointed out the increasing criminalization in politics and directed the Central government to come up with a scheme to set-up special fast-track courts to deal exclusively with the criminal cases pending against Legislators and Parliamentarians.
Based on the information available with Odisha Election Watch on the sitting MLAs of the Odisha Assembly, whose affidavits were analysed by ADR, 52 MLAs or 35 per cent of the total MLAs had declared pending criminal cases against themselves at the time of contesting in elections held in 2014.
Out of these, 41 had declared serious criminal cases against them. Among the political parties, BJD has the maximum number of MLAs(32) withcriminal cases followed by INC(9) and BJP(8).Similarly out of 21 MPs from Odisha whose affidavits were analysed, threehave declared criminal cases pending against them.
One of the Lok Sabha MP from BJD has declared serious criminal cases pending against him while two MPs from BJD and one MP from BJP have declared criminal cases against them. Out of 10 Rajya Sabha MPs from Odisha whose affidavits were analysed, 2 have declared criminal cases.
The winning candidates of almost all the major political parties have declared criminal cases. Criminalization of politics continue to remain a major concern in India as several sitting MPs and MLAs facing charges of corruption and serious offences such as murder, rape and kidnapping continue to be lawmakers, the ADR said in its report.BM