AAM Aadmi Party (AAP) claims to be practising clean and honest politics and credits its victory in Punjab Assembly elections to the voters’ desire for change from the corrupt regime of the previous governments. With 93 MLAs in the 117-member Assembly, AAP enjoys a brute majority in the state but 52 (57 per cent) of its winning candidates are facing criminal charges.
Punjab Assembly has a much higher number of MLAs with criminal cases than the last one with 58 out of 117 facing some charge, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms, compared to 16 in 2017.
Three (17 per cent) out of 18 winning candidates from the Congress, two (67 per cent) of three Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) MLAs, and one (50 per cent) out of two winning candidates from the Bharatiya Janata Party have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
Twenty-seven winning candidates (23 per cent) declared serious criminal cases against themselves. In 2017, 11 (9 per cent) MLAs faced serious criminal cases.
Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, an AAP MLA from Ajnala constituency of Amritsar district, has been charged with murder. He has been booked under Section 302 of the IPC and also faces the charge under Section 201 of the IPC (causing the disappearance of evidence for screening crimes).
Dhaliwal was charged under Section 302 of the IPC after a Democratic Party of India worker, Buddh Singh, was killed during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
AAP also has two winning candidates who are accused under IPC section 307. MLAs Sheetal Angural, of the Jalandhar West constituency, who has nine cases against him, including eight serious IPC and 13 other IPC charges, and Daljit Singh Grewal, of the Ludhiana East constituency, who has three cases against him, including three serious IPC and 15 other IPC. In this case, one serious charge relates to the use of force against a woman with the intent of outraging her modesty (Section 354 of the IPC).
In addition to Grewal, two others have also filed charges related to crimes against women. Among them is Congress’s Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, MLA for the Raja Sansi constituency, charged under IPC Section 366, which refers to kidnapping, abducting, or enticing a woman to marry.
Manjinder Singh Lalpura, an AAP legislator from the Khadur Sahib constituency, faces two charges related to assault with intent to outrage a woman’s modesty. A total of five cases have been brought against Lalpura, including five serious IPC charges and 18 others.