Tamil Nadu, the only state that has all its constituencies going to poll in Phase 6 of the Lok Sabha elections on April 24, has the dubious honour of having the top two candidates in terms of involvement in criminal cases.
Udayakumar S P, the principal anti-Koodankulam nuclear power plant activist, who is contesting tomorrow elections from Tamil nadu on an Aam Aadmi Party ticket, has declared in his sworn affidavit that he has been involved in 382 criminal cases. He has faced 19 charges of attempted murder and 16 charges "related to waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India" -- relating to his agitation against the KNPP.
M Pushparayan, also of the AAP, comes a close second, declaring that he has been involved in 280 criminal case. On 19 occasions he has been charged with attempted murder. In addition, he has 13 charges "related to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc". As well as finishing top of the criminal cases list, Udayakumar is part of the two pc of Tamil Nadu candidates who hold a doctorate, while Pushparayan has no formal qualifications. Both candidates are prominent anti-nuclear campaigners. Many of their criminal cases relate to 'disobedience' and 'being members of an unlawful assembly'.
The only other candidate to come close is West Bengal's Sridip Bhattacharya,who has been involved in 58 criminal case.
There are 147 candidates who have been involved in five or more criminal cases. They come from a range of backgrounds. Here is how that number breaks down. Data compiled by the Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch, based on sworn affidavits from candidates.
Photograph: Suriyan Sai.