Of the 182 candidates who won the Gujarat Assembly elections this time, 40 (22 per cent) have declared criminal cases against them in their affidavits, a decline from 47 candidates with criminal cases in 2017 elections, according to a report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) released Sunday.
Among the 182 new MLAs, BJP’s Hardik Patel who won from Viramgam seat has the highest number of criminal cases against him at 22, of which 16 are serious IPC counts.
This is followed by Congress’ Jignesh Mevani from Vadgam constituency with 10 criminal cases, including nine serious IPC counts, Congress’ Kiritkumar Patel elected from Patan constituency with nine criminal cases of which seven are serious charges, and Chaitarbhai Vasava, AAP candidate from Dediapada in Narmada with eight criminal cases, including four serious IPC counts.
The ADR report further reveals that of the 40 MLAs, 29 or 16 per cent have declared serious criminal cases against them, registering a decline of two per cent points from 2017 when 33 or 18 per cent MLAs had declared serious criminal cases in their affidavits.
Three winning candidates have declared cases of attempt to murder (IPC Section-307) against them — Congress MLAs from Vansda Anant Patel and Patan Kirit Patel, and BJP MLA from Una Kalubhai Rathod.
Four MLAs have declared cases related to crimes against women that include a rape case under IPC section 376 against BJP’s Jethabahi Ahir (Bharvad) from Shehra in Panchmahal. Congress ’s Jignesh Mevani, BJP’s Janak Talaviya and AAP’s Chaitar Vasava face charges under section 354 (outraging modesty of women) of the IPC.
Party-wise analysis of winning candidates with criminal cases reveal that 26 or 17 per cent of the 156 BJP MLAs, nine or 53 per cent of 17 Congress MLAs and two or 40 per cent of the five AAP MLAs, two or 68 per cent out of 3 Independent winners and one or 100 per cent of the SP MLA have declared criminal cases against them.
Of these, 20 (13 per cent) from the BJP, four (24 per cent) from the Congress, two (40 per cent) from the AAP, two (68 per cent) of 3 Independent winners and the lone SP MLA have serious criminal cases against them.
Of the 182 MLAs, 151 (83 per cent) are crorepatis — a rise from 2017 elections when 141 (77 per cent) MLAs were crorepatis. The highest number of crorepati MLAs are from the BJP at 132 (85 per cent) out of 156, while the Congress has one out of 17 from INC, the AAP has one out of 5 and the SP has one, while all three independent MLAs have assets worth more than Rs 1 crore.
The average of assets per winning candidate has doubled this year to Rs 16.41 crore from Rs 8.46 crore in 2017.
Partywise average assets per winning candidate for BJP MLAs is Rs 17.15 crore, Congress Rs 5.51 crore, AAP Rs 98.70 lakh, SP Rs 20.94 crore and independents have average assets worth Rs 63.94 crore.
As many as 86 (47 per cent) candidates have educational qualification between Class 5 and Class 12, while 83 (46 per cent) are graduate and above. There are seven who have declared themselves as just literates and six are diploma holders.
Among the 182 MLAs, 62 (34 per cent) are between 25 and 50 years while 120 (66 per cent) are between 51 and 80 years.
Number of re-elected MLAs in 2022 is 74 while their average assets has increased from Rs 6.52 crore in 2017 to Rs 9.14 crore in 2022.