New Delhi, Feb 10: Amidst the rhetoric of development and clean politics, parties in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections have relied again on alleged criminals and strongmen to seize power. An analysis of candidates contesting in the second phase of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections by Delhi-based NGO ‘Association for Democratic Rights’ reveals that parties across the political spectrum have fielded candidates with the alleged criminal background.

Bahujan Samaj Party has topped the charts as 25 out of its 67 candidates have declared criminals cases against them. Its arch rival Samajwadi Party has given tickets to 21 out of 51 candidates named in criminal cases whereas its alliance partner Congress has six out of its 18 candidates with a tainted record contesting in the second phase of elections.

Bharatiya Janta Paty, which is contesting in alliance with Apna Dal and Bharatiya Samaj Party, has 16 of its 67 candidates with alleged criminal cases against their name. Rashtriya Lok Dal, which is contesting on 52 seats and is an influential player in western Uttar Pradesh, has fielded six candidates with alleged criminal cases.

A detailed analysis of affidavits submitted by candidates to the Election Commission reveals that 105 out of 719 candidates have declared criminal cases against them. About 12 % of the candidates have declared serious criminal charges against them and 84 out of 719 candidates declared cases related to murder, attempt to murder and crime against women.

However, only five candidates have declared criminal cases including rape and outraging the modesty of women against themselves. A total of 21 candidates has declared cases of murder and attempt to murder against themselves. A total of 15 candidates declared cases related to attempt to murder while six have pending cases related to murder.

The presence of several strongmen is also reflected in the fact that 15 constituencies in the second phase of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections have been declared as ‘Red Alert Constituencies’. Red alert constituencies are those which have three or more candidates with criminal cases fighting elections.

The second phase of the elections will be conducted in 11 districts including Amroha, Badaun, Bareilly, Bijnor, Kheri Moradabad, Pilibhit, Rampur, Saharanpur, Sambhal and Shahjahanpur.

Uttar Pradesh will go to polls in seven-phased elections for which the voting will commence on February 11. The results will be announced on March 11.