AAP's ambivalent policies continue to haunt it
The ADR report, which states that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), professed to be a party with 'revolutionary zeal', has fielded 15 candidates (out of its list of 78) with criminal cases, merely highlights its propensity to adopt all possible strategies to remain buoyant in the national political discourse. Ironically, it is the same AAP which had launched a crusade against corruption and had been invoking the need to have a clean political environment, which were seen as clinching factors for its impressive performance in the Delhi state assembly polls. This opened the floodgates of possibilities with its focus on issues that confront the day-to-day lives of the common people like the inclusion of a citizen-centric public discourse in the allocation of public resources like water and electricity, access to education and healthcare and confronting the corporate India over pricing of electricity and gas. However, its ambivalent policies which included vigilantism by its ministers, attempt to engage political rivals in street battles, studied silence on ideological issues and on representation of women continue to haunt it. The inclusion of candidates with criminal background must be seen in a broader perspective, since AAP in its quest to capitalize its short-term 'sacrifice' seeks to eye a national-level constituency. The party has become a safe haven for many aspirants including businessmen, artistes, journalists, NGO members and legal professionals who either had failed elsewhere or want to explore the new political platform. This has resulted in the present disconnect with its immediate constituency i.e. the aam aadmi.
--R Radhakrishnan, Political Analyst
Sometimes false cases are filed against candidates
AAP is a party which has always talked about resignation or suspension of a political leader, if s/he has criminal charges or found to be guilty of any offence. I don't know how true are charges against the AAP candidates, but if these criminal charges are true then the party should terminate these candidates on moral grounds. A party's talking should not be different from its action. In political rivalry, sometimes it happens that false cases are filed against some candidates. So we have to see how many of these candidates are having true criminal past. However, the ADR analysis is very demoralizing for the country's voters, who wonder how can these candidates get tickets in the first place. By giving them ticket to run for Lok Sabha elections, you are giving them a chance to break law and order. If a political candidates have criminal cases they should be suspended from the party and barred from contesting elections, till the court clears them of the charges.
--Siddharth Sharma, Founder President, Bharatiya Krantikari Sanghatna
You have to search discipline among false projections
If candidates are strong, there is always a tendency among the opponents to lodge false criminal cases against them and shake their popularity. This tradition is found in the Indian political field and every one is aware of this strategy. I have also gone through this experience when somebody had filed a false case against me and I had to visit the court for almost 12 years. In the political arena, superficially there will be indiscipline but you have to search discipline among the false projections. We have to know that out of these 262 candidates who have criminal past, how many are real and how many are false charges. If there are candidates who have real criminal charges filed against them, then the question arises why were they given the ticket in the first place. If they are criminal then it is wrong to give them tickets to contest the elections.
--Kumar Saptarshi, Founder, Yuvak Kranti Dal
I feel that our democracy is at its pathetic stage
Let there be any candidate if they have criminal charges against them, they should be banned to contest elections and debarred from joining any political party. It is surprising that in our democratic system a candidate sitting in jail can contest elections but as a citizen of India, he cannot vote. I do not understand why there is this disparity. I feel that our democracy is at its pathetic stage. I am really surprised how can so many candidates with criminal charges get tickets to contest election from the political parties. It is shameful that these parties are giving tickets only on electoral merits of the candidates, it is wrong and highly condemnable. It is surprising that AAP, which claims to be an anti-corruption party, is allowing such candidates with criminal past. However, whether it is AAP or any other party, candidates with criminal past should be debarred from contesting elections.
--Anoop Awasthi, President, Legal Rights Society
AAP leaders have cases not for serious crimes
We always protest on various issues so all these 15 AAP candidates having criminal charges against them are related to these protest and even Arvind Kejriwal has such criminal charges against him. AAP leaders and volunteers have been leading various protests, for example against the coal scam, recently against the Delhi police and others. So all these leaders who have criminal charges against them are because they were part of these protests and not for any serious crimes. Even our volunteers have criminal cases filed against them. It is a bad blot on our democracy, when these candidates with serious crimes like murder and rape are also given ticket to contest elections. For example, in this elections there is a candidate from Varanasi, who is contesting from the jail. These candidates are expected to be lawmakers once they are elected and protect public and women against crimes.
--Divyang Baldota, District Committee Member, AAP
What the ADR analysis show
- 1,391 candidates are contesting 3rd phase of LS polls on April 10
- 91 constituencies in 13 states will see polling in this phase
- 397 (29%) of the 1391 are multimillionaires
- 262 (19%) of the 1391 face criminal charges
- 147 of the 1,391 face serious criminal charges
- 29% of Kerala candidates face criminal charges (higher than UP & Bihar)
- 15 (19%) of the 78 AAP candidates face criminal charges
- 38 (48%) of the 80 BJP candidates face criminal charges
- 21 (29%) of the 72 Congress candidates face criminal charges
- 16 (18%) of the 89 BSP candidates face criminal charges