UP Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Wealthy And Criminal Candidates Dominate Second Phase Of Elections

UP Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Wealthy And Criminal Candidates Dominate Second Phase Of Elections

Notably, three out of eight Bahujan Samaj Party candidates, two out of seven from the BJP, and all four candidates from the Samajwadi Party face criminal charges.

BISWAJEET BANERJEEUpdated: Saturday, April 20, 2024, 07:39 PM IST
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Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | FPJ

The ongoing Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh's second phase reveal a striking presence of affluent candidates vying for parliamentary seats, sparking concerns about the entanglement of wealth and politics. Across the eight constituencies up for grabs—Amroha, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, and Mathura—a remarkable 42 crorepati candidates have entered the electoral fray.

Data compiled by the Uttar Pradesh Election Watch and the Association for Democratic Reforms offers a comprehensive view of the electoral terrain. Out of the 91 candidates in contention, a substantial 46 percent are identified as crorepatis. Equally concerning is the revelation that 18 candidates, representing nearly 20 percent of the total, have serious criminal cases registered against them.

Hema Malini Emerges as the Wealthiest

The influence of wealth transcends mere financial prowess, extending into the realm of political power play. With only three exceptions among Congress candidates, nominees from major parties—BSP, BJP, SP, Jai Hind National Party, and Samaj Vikas Kranti Party—boast substantial fortunes.

Leading the pack is Hema Malini, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate contesting from the Mathura parliamentary constituency for the third consecutive term. Her declared assets amount to around Rs 297 crore, marking a 15% increase over the past five years.

Of this staggering wealth, Rs 129 crore is registered under her name, while assets worth Rs 168 crore are attributed to her husband Dharmendra. A comparison with her declared assets during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections reveals a notable surge, with an increase of Rs 48 crore over the past half-decade.

Following closely are Satish Kumar Gautam of the BJP from Aligarh, boasting assets worth Rs 16 crore, and Devvrat Tyagi of the BSP from Meerut, with assets valued at around Rs 5 crore.

Criminality in the Political Fray

The breakdown of candidates with criminal records across political parties further underscores the issue at hand. Notably, three out of eight Bahujan Samaj Party candidates, two out of seven from the BJP, and all four candidates from the Samajwadi Party face criminal charges. Similarly, 25 percent of BSP candidates, 29 percent of BJP candidates, and a staggering 50 percent of both SP and Congress candidates carry the burden of serious criminal charges.

Of particular note is Amarpal Sharma, contesting from Baghpat on a Samajwadi Party ticket, who faces a total of nine criminal cases.

Educational Disparity Raises Concerns

Moreover, the educational qualifications of the candidates raise questions about representation and competence. A significant 36 percent of candidates have not completed even their 12th grade, with educational qualifications ranging from 5th to 12th grade. Meanwhile, 52 candidates boast graduate-level education or higher, with a handful holding diplomas, while two candidates are literate, and two are entirely illiterate.

The dominance of crorepati candidates and those with criminal records underscores the intricate dynamics shaping electoral politics in Uttar Pradesh, calling for heightened scrutiny and deliberation on the integrity and inclusivity of the democratic process.

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