Bhubaneswar: As many as 54 MLAs and MPs from Odisha with criminal records have represented people of various assembly and parliamentary constituencies, revealed a survey report.
According to survey conducted by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Odisha Election Watch (OEW) on basis of affidavits filed by all the sitting MPs and MLAs from Odisha, 54 (32%) out of 21 MPs and 147 MLAs have declared criminal cases against themselves.
Among 54 MPs and MLAs, 41 (24%) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
While 27% sitting Odisha MLAs have criminal background, the percentage of legislators at the national level is 21%, the report said.
As per the analysis of affidavits by ADR and National Election Watch (NEW), 184 (34%) out of 543 Lok Sabha MPs and 1353 (33%) out of 4078 MLAs (all state assemblies/UTs) analysed have declared criminal cases against themselves.
Similarly, 117 (22%) out of 543 Lok Sabha MPs and 860 (21%) out of 4078 MLAs (all state assemblies/UTs) analysed have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
Total 64 (6%) parliamentarians and legislators have declared charges related to kidnapping against themselves. At least 48 MPs and MLAs have declared cases related to crime against women against themselves.
Analysing the affidavits, Odisha Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms appealed to all the political parties to ban persons with criminal background and involved in heinous crime from contesting elections.
“If people with criminal records are allowed to contest elections, they may use unethical means and coercion to force persons to vote for them. This will increase violence in elections and create challenge for free and fair elections. This is a violation of the very fundamental basis of democracy,” the OEW said in a release.
The political parties should not nominate such persons to contest elections on their behalf in the forthcoming General Election and Election to Odisha State Legislative Assembly and restraint from distributing tickets to the persons with criminal background. Also Political Parties should disclose the criteria on which candidates are given tickets, the release stated.