The promise made by political parties to practice clean politics is yet to be fulfilled, says Onkar Singh
The presence of several millionaires and criminals contesting the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections has made it rather interesting.
Around 44 percent of those in the fray -- party candidates and independents included -- are millionaires. However, it is also interesting to note that 36 percent of the candidates have a criminal background.
"It is unfortunate that political parties encourage such elements when the Election Commission has made it clear that those with tainted or criminal backgrounds should not be given tickets," a former senior official with the Election Commission told rediff.com on Thursday.
Even though there are multiple criminal cases pending against him, Raja Bhaiya is once again contesting from Kunda seat near Pratapgarh. He is contesting as an independent. Mafia don Mukhtar Abbas Ansari may not be contesting the elections, but he has launched his own outfit called Qaumi Ekta Manch and has fielded 12 candidates in Gazipur, Mau, Azamgarh and other areas where he wields influence. Two of his brothers are also in the fray.
Muna Bajrangi, who is currently lodged in Tihar jail, is contesting on an Apna Dal ticket from Madiyahon in Jaunpur district. Another noted criminal Brajesh Singh, who is in Ahmedabad jail is contesting from Pragatisheel Samaj Party from Saiyedraza in Chanduli. He has 40 cases against him, including murder of 13 persons in Azamgarh in 1994.
Though the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party claimed to take a high moral ground on corruption, they are guilty of violating their own set of standards.
Uppal Kumar Rai, who is trying his luck from Madhuban in Mau district, has 19 criminal cases against him. Former vice president of Allahabad University is contesting yet again from a Samajwadi Party ticket. According to him, the cases against him were filed by the Mayawati government and are politically motivated.
Ajai Rai, four-time BJP MLA, who had quit the party in 2009 after he was denied a party ticket, is now contesting on a Congress ticket.
The claims of keeping criminal candidates away from politics have proven to be a damp squib. The promise made by political parties to practice clean politics is yet to be fulfilled.
According to the records, the SP and the Congress have kept their doors open for tainted candidates by allotting tickets to 29 and 25 nominees respectively. While the BSP has fielded 18 candidates with criminal background, the BJP has given tickets to 11 such candidates. The Janata Dal-United, the Peace Party and the Apna Dal have also given tickets to tainted candidates.
Atiq Ahmed, Jitendra Singh Babloo and Purshottam Naresh Dwivedi are contesting elections. Contesting from Allahabad West on Apna Dal ticket, Atiq filed his nomination from Basti jail. Babloo is in Faizabad jail and will fight from Bikapur. He is the prime accused in the arson attack on the house of UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi two years ago. He was a BSP MLA then.
Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi, who is in Banda jail, was BSP MLA from Naraini in Banda before being sacked after he was accused of rape. Madhumita murder case convict Amar Mani Tripathi has got a ticket for his son Aman Mani Tripathi from Nautanwa and uncle Shyam Narayan Tiwari from Farenda. Both are SP candidates.
Anup Gupta, son of Om Prakash Gupta, a history-sheeter and in jail for the foodgrain scam, has got a ticket from Maholi in Sitapur. Lesser known criminals like Ramesh Upadhaya, accused in the Malegaon blast case, is representing the Hindu Mahasabha from Baririya in Jaunpur. An alleged aide of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Ramesh is in Arthur Road Jail.