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19 per cent of winners in BMC polls face criminal cases: Report

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As many as 43 winners in the just concluded Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections are facing criminal cases, says a report.

This implies that nearly 19 per cent of the newly elected corporators have criminal charges against them, including for offences like attempt to murder and rape, as per an analysis of the affidavits of 225 winners out of the total 227 in BMC polls recently done by NGOs Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Maharashtra Election Watch

Maharashtra Election Watch’s state coordinator Sharad Kumar said, “As long as people don’t go out to vote in large numbers, political parties will pick winning candidates who have money and muscle power.”

According to the report compiled by the two NGOs, Shiv Sena’s Umesh Subhash Mane, who won from ward no. 115, has in his affidavit declared a case related to attempt to murder (Indian Penal Code section 307) against him.

Besides, three of the winners have cases of rape (IPC section 376) and assault or criminal force to woman with an intent to outrage her modesty (IPC section 354) against them, the report said.

Out of the 225 winners whose affidavits were analysed, 22 from Shiv Sena, 11 from BJP, 3 from MNS, 2 from Congress, one each from NCP, SP and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) and 2 independents are facing criminal cases, it said.

The remaining two affidavits out of the total 227 winners were not analysed as they were not available at the time of making the report, the NGOs said in a statement.

“This time the vote percentage has increased for the first time since the last 25 years. Similarly, the number of candidates with criminal background has also gone down,” Kumar said.

“Ever since affidavits have been made compulsory for candidates, voters have become aware of their background. The number of candidates with criminal cases against them is also coming down,” he claimed, without elaborating on the figures.

The report also mentioned that among the winners, 144 are crorepatis, while five winners have declared assets below Rs. 4 lakh. Besides, seven winners have declared their total annual income to be over Rs. 50 lakh.

As per the affidavits, five winners have declared their ages to be between 21 and 24 years, 154 of the new corporators are aged between 25 and 50, while 66 are in the 51 to 80 years age bracket.

In the recently concluded polls to the 227-member BMC, Shiv Sena won 84 seats, BJP-82, Congress-31, NCP-9, MNS-7, SP-6, MIM-3, Akhil Bharatiya Sena-1 and Independents-4.

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