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Home » India » ‘Social Worker’, ‘Political Vendetta’ Behind Cases: How Most Parties Justify Selection Of Candidates With Criminal Background

India

‘Social Worker’, ‘Political Vendetta’ Behind Cases: How Most Parties Justify Selection Of Candidates With Criminal Background

As per the guidelines, the reasons for such selection have to be with reference to qualifications, achievements, and merit of the candidate concerned. The winnability of a candidate cannot be a reason, the Election Commission specified.

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The most common reason given was the candidate's good reputation among the party workers and the people. (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi: The Election Commission of India, which announced the dates of five state assembly elections on Saturday, asked the political parties to declare the reason for nominating candidates with criminal background. The EC directive is based on the February 13, 2020 Supreme Court order, which asked the political parties to list out the reasons on their website and their social media platforms within 72 hours of the selection of candidates with criminal cases against them.

As per the guidelines, the reasons for such selection have to be with reference to qualifications, achievements, and merit of the candidate concerned. The winnability of a candidate cannot be a reason, the Election Commission specified.

A report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows the reasons listed by the political parties during the state elections in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Bihar, Kerala and Assam, and the most common reason given was the candidate’s good reputation among the party workers and the people. The choice of the candidate has been defended by political parties mostly by calling the candidate a “social worker” with “very good reputation”, who has been working “to protect the people’s interest and rights”.

ALSO READ: ‘Winnability’ Alone Not Enough, Political Parties Must Explain Why Candidates With Criminal Records Selected: ECI

In Tamil Nadu, Congress candidate D Chandrasekar was defended saying: “The cases registered against this candidate are relating to the agitation to protect the rights of the public and during his social service, among other candidates, this candidates is found more suitable to function as a public representative to ensure their right and liberties.”

Meanwhile, in Bihar, JDU had justified the selection of some of its candidates saying they were “very popular in the constituency due to the social work”. One of the candidates, Jitendra Kumar, was said to have rendered service to the labourers, women workers and the needy. “The relief work he had undertaken during the Covid-19 pandemic and his services to the Migrant Labourers has been lauded by the people of the Constituency and the District,” the JDU had said.

The second most commonly used reason was that the criminal cases against the candidates were “politically motivated” or done out of “political vendetta”.

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In West Bengal, BJP’s Barun Pramanik and Mukul Roy, who were among the top three candidates with highest number of total criminal cases, were selected as according to the party, the cases pending against them were “politically motivated” because they were “popular” leaders.

In Tamil Nadu, DMK’s S Kathiravan, Congress’ Prince J G and Rajesh Kumar S were top candidates with highest number of total criminal cases. The reasons for their selection was “very good reputation” and the cases against them were reported to be “relating to the agitations to protect the rights of the public and during his social
service.”

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In Kerala, BJP’s K Surendran, K S Radhakrishnan and Radhakrishnan were top three candidates with highest number of total criminal cases and the reason for their selection was exactly the same: “The candidate is a well known social activist….Most of the cases are arising out of political vendetta.”

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In Assam, Assam Jatiya Parishad’s Dulu Ahmed and Humayun Kabir were among the top three candidates with highest number of criminal cases. The party defended them saying: “He has not yet been convicted. He also has a track record of more than 15 years of social service which weighed heavily in his favor. No one else having the desired social background applied.”

The Election Commission on Saturday reiterated its directive and laid emphasis on the need to list the reasons for the public to see. “Candidates with criminal antecedents are required to publish information in this regard in newspapers and through television channels on three occasions during the campaign period. A political party that sets up candidates with criminal antecedents is also required to publish information about criminal background of its candidates, both on its website and also in newspapers and Television channels on three occasions,” its press release said.

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