Thursday, March 29, 2007

UP election Watch First Phase Data

Summary Note
UP Election Watch 2007
1st Phase Data


UP Election Watch is a non-partisan body of citizens engaged in creating avenues of better participation of citizens in the Governance process. We believe that by exercising an informed choice the voters/citizens can create a momentum for an accountable and response system.

The UPEW, along with 200 CBOs/NGOs created a network of citizens across the state for this purpose.

The process has been initiated in the state by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) which is engaged in strengthening democracy in the country through political and electoral reforms.

People’s Vigilance committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has become the coordinating body of the whole process. PVCHR has been involved with the cause of hunger, malnutrition, education, health and governance for the most marginalized and voiceless section of Indian society.

Many civil society organizations are part of the UPEW. For the constituencies that are going to the polls in the first phase of UP assembly elections, the contribution of network partners like Apada Niwaran Manch,Parmarth samaj santhan, Pahuj Vikas manch are worth a mention. Without the relentless efforts of such network partners’ collection of affidavits would have been impossible.

Following the Supreme Court judgment on candidate’s disclosure, it was the responsibility of the Civil Society to see that clean and responsive candidates are elected. Such a task could not be left to the political parties who across the board put up candidates with pending criminal records and are themselves non-transparent in financial and internal functioning matter.

UPEW collected affidavits of 785 candidates contesting in the 62 assembly seats that are going to the polls in first phase.
· 131 candidates had pending criminal cases against them
· Among the major political parties BSP led the pack with 22/62 (35.48%) closely followed by SP 19/61(31.15%), BJP 16/54 (29.63%) and INC 15/62 (24.20%).
· 32 seats in the first phase were earlier (2002) occupied by people with serious criminal charges. This time round 11 of them have not mentioned any criminal cases pending against them. According to the UP Government website all of them have pending cases.
· There are seven constituencies which have more that five candidates with pending cases. This are Jasrana,Hamirpur, Firozabad,Lalitpur,Agara Cantt, Kanpur and Aliganj.
· 509 (64.84%) candidates did not have PAN. Among political parties INC led with 35.48%, BSP 32.25%, SP 31.14% and BJP 24.07 %.
· There were 74 candidates who declared assets worth more than Rupees one crore. SP led the team with 17 such candidates followed by BSP 14, BJP 14, and INC 11.
· The average assets of a SP candidate were 87.23 lacs, BJP 79.32 lacs, INC 58.88 Lacs and BSP 55.00Lacs.
· Among the top ten candidates with high liabilities one INC candidate with 30 lacs loan did not even posses PAN.

The above data and enclosed information have been culled from affidavits provided by candidates at the time of nominations. These are accessible at For accuracy of the data please check this website. Volunteers of PVCHR are not responsible for any error.

Note: The data is in excel- sheets containing several pages, please go through them.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Prof. Trilochan Shastry

Coming Assembly Elections: Nature of parties and governance
Trilochan Sastry
Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
and Founder Member, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)
January 20, 2007

The coming Assembly elections in the 5 States of Punjab, UP, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur once again bring into focus the nature of politics and governance today. In intellectual circles, the debate is about the ideology and policies of a party, and its stand on various issues like the free market, socialism, globalization, secularism, communalism, economic growth, poverty eradication and so on. They also evaluate how well policies and programs are implemented. In more informal circles, people talk about massive corruption in government, and the misuse of money and muscle power in elections. Fortunately, information on candidates is now available publicly, and it throws light on the quality of governance we can realistically expect. The recent Supreme Court Judgments of May 2002 and March 2003 now mandate such disclosure by all candidates.

Of the 102 seats in these 5 states, the major parties alone had 83 (81%) candidates formally charged with a crime. Many are accused of murder, attempt to murder, dacoity, forgery and financial fraud. Party leaders decide who gets a ticket to contest and are directly responsible for this state of affairs. Unfortunately, the situation is worse since there are many more Independent contestants who are similarly charged. It also does not include those who may indulge in fraud but have not been formally charged. The recent convictions of a Minister in the UPA government and an opposition MP are only the tip of the iceberg.

Lok Sabha 2004: Contestants from the 5 States going to the polls

Total Seats
No. charged with crime

Uttar Pradesh, the State with the largest Vidhan Sabha (403) sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha. The Samajwadi Party (SP) fielded 66 candidates of which 22 had criminal charges against them, with 13 accused of violent crimes ranging from murder to dacoity. The BSP had 78, 21 and 15 respectively. The two major National political parties had 15% or less of candidates with criminal charges. Out of 293 candidates contesting on behalf of these four parties, 63 had criminal cases (21.5%), of which 34 contestants were accused of violent crimes.

In Punjab, out of 10 candidates from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in the Lok Sabha 2004 Elections, 2 had criminal charges against them. The Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann) had 6 and 2, the Bharatiya Janata Party had 3 and 1, the Congress had 11 and 0, and SP had 3 and 0 respectively. Uttarakhand carved out of Uttar Pradesh has 5 Parliamentary Constituencies and 70 Vidhan Sabha seats. Out of 5 candidates put up by SP, 2 had criminal charges against them. The Shiv Sena had 2 and 1, and the CPI (ML), 3 and 1 respectively. A similar situation prevails in Manipur and Goa.

Lok Sabha 2004: Political Parties and Crime in the 5 States
Political Party
Total No. of Candidates
No. of Candidates with Criminal Charges
% of Candidates with Criminal Charges
Samajwadi Party
Bahujan Samaj Party
Indian National Congress
Bharatiya Janata Party
SAD (Mann)

The data also reveal that many candidates do not declare their PAN number and claim that they have nil or very little assets. Data from other Assembly elections held after May 2002 in Bihar, Maharashtra, AP, Gujarat, Karnataka, Orissa, Delhi, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal clearly show that the level of criminalization and false declarations is far worse in the Assembly elections compared to the Lok Sabha polls.

Why are we in this situation and what kind of governance can we expect? Where do we go from here? Many analysts state publicly, and a few politicians privately, that mounting election expenses is the mother of all corruption since the crores spent by someone on getting elected have to be recovered after winning. Starting from Bofors, which was a mere Rs.64 crores, we moved to the Telgi scam, estimated to be in several tens of thousands of crores. Clearly, good governance cannot be a priority in this situation no matter what the ideology or policy. The few capable and honest leaders at the top have a Hobson’s choice: try for good governance from what they know is a corrupt system, or look outside the Government to the private sector. With such levels of corruption, privatization leads to an unholy nexus between money and political power as happened in several other countries. The rush for massive infrastructure projects perhaps opens up more avenues for large scale corruption. Good governance is therefore a sine qua non whether we opt for the free market or for a direct attack on poverty with distributive justice. Party leaders who themselves are not corrupt have to field clean, capable candidates. Some far sighted leader will have to call the bluff that voters only elect those who spend a lot of money. It remains to be seen whether the political system throws up that kind of visionary leadership first or whether public exposure and outcry forces them to change in the long run.