Lucknow, Feb 19: 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 third 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.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) along with the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has topped the charts as 21 candidates have declared criminals cases against them. Its arch rival Samajwadi Party has given tickets to 13 out of 59 candidates named in criminal cases whereas its alliance partner Congress has five out of its 14 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 fielded 21 of its 68 candidates with alleged criminal cases against their name. Rashtriya Lok Dal, which is contesting on 40 seats and is an influential player in western Uttar Pradesh, has fielded five candidates with alleged criminal cases.

A detailed analysis of affidavits submitted by candidates to the Election Commission reveals that 110 out of 813 candidates have declared criminal cases against them. About 12 % of the candidates have declared serious criminal charges against them and 82 out of 813 candidates declared cases related to murder, attempt to murder and crime against women.

However, only six candidates have declared criminal cases including rape and outraging the modesty of women against themselves. A total of 18 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 21 constituencies in the third 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 people of 12 districts including Farukhabad, Hardoi, Kannauj, Mainpuri, Etawah, Kanpur, Dehat, Auraiya, Lucknow, Unnao, Sitapur and Barabanki will vote on Sunday.

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