The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded the highest number of candidates with criminal cases against them at 32(36%) out of 88 contests, in Phase 1 of the Gujarat Assembly elections. This is followed by the Congress Party with 31(35%) out of 89 candidates with criminal cases; the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 14 (16%) out of 89 candidates, and the Bharatiya Tribal Party with 4 (29%) out of 14 candidates with declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
The analyses of the candidates were done by Gujarat Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) through the self-sworn affidavits of those contesting in Phase 1. A total of 89 Constituencies, out of the 182 in the State, will go to vote on December 1, including the districts of Kachchh, Rajkot, Morbi and Jamnagar.
A total of 167 candidates (21 per cent) in phase 1 have declared their criminal cases, out of which 100 candidates (13 per cent) have serious criminal cases against them. Nine candidates out of these have declared cases related to crimes against women. The majority are independent candidates except for one candidate each from the BJP and the Congress.
The BJP’ Janakbhai Talaviya, a candidate from the Lathi Constituency of Amreli district, has one charge related to Assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty (IPC Section-354). In the case of the Congress candidate, Vasantbhai Barjulbhai Patel from the Kaprada (ST) constituency, of Valsad district the charge is related to the Husband or relative of the husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty (IPC Section-498A).
Candidates with serious cases against them in the first phase have increased this time compared to the last Assembly elections of 2017 where it was 78 candidates (8 per cent) with serious cases. Among the major parties, it is again the AAP which has topped with the most number of candidates with serious cases against them with 26(30%) out of the 88 candidates, followed by 18(20%) out of 89 candidates analysed from the Congress Party, then the BJP which had 11 (12%) out of 89 candidates and lastly the Bhartiya Tribal Party with 1 (7%) out of 14 candidates who have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
The analyses also found 211 candidates (27 per cent) in total who were Crorepatis with an average asset of Rs. 2.88 crores. The richest candidate in phase 1 is from the BJP, Rameshbhai Virjibhai Tilala from the Rajkot South Constituency with total assets at over 175 crores. He was followed by Indranil Rajguru, from the Congress Party, a candidate fielded from Rajkot East with a total asset of 162 crore and next another BJP candidate, from Manavadar constituency, Jawaharbhai Pethaljibhai Chavda with a total asset coming to over Rs 130 crore.
The number of women candidates leaves much to be desired with just 69 female candidates, i.e., 9 per cent of those contesting in Phase 1 being women. Phase 1 of the elections will take place on December 1, with phase 2 which will cover 93 constituencies in 14 districts on December 5. Results will be declared on December 8.