30% of Candidates in 5 Odisha Lok Sabha Seats Face Criminal Cases

In Odisha's 5 key constituencies, 30% of Lok Sabha election candidates have pending criminal cases, with 20% facing serious charges. The BJP has the highest number of candidates with criminal cases, followed by BJD and INC.

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Bijay Laxmi
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30% of Candidates in 5 Odisha Lok Sabha Seats Face Criminal Cases

30% of Candidates in 5 Odisha Lok Sabha Seats Face Criminal Cases

As the fourth phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha election approaches on May 20, a disturbing trend has emerged in five key constituencies in Odisha. According to an analysis by Odisha Election Watch and the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a staggering 30% of candidates contesting in Aska, Bargarh, Balangir, Kandhamal, and Sundargarh have criminal cases pending against them.

Why this matters: The high percentage of candidates with criminal cases raises concerns about the integrity of the electoral process and the potential impact on the democratic system. This trend can also influence voter preferences and the overall outcome of the, ultimately shaping the country's governance and policy-making.

Out of the 40 candidates vying for seats in these five constituencies, 12 have declared criminal cases against themselves. Even more concerning, 8 candidates, or 20%, are facing serious criminal charges. One candidate has a murder case pending, while four others have been booked for attempted murder under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code. Additionally, four candidates have cases related to crimes against women.

A party-wise breakdown reveals that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has the highest number of candidates with criminal cases, with 80% of its nominees in these constituencies facing such charges. Both the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Indian National Congress have 20% of their candidates with criminal cases pending against them.

This alarming trend is not limited to the second phase of in Odisha. In the first phase, 19% of the 37 candidates contesting had declared criminal cases against themselves. The high percentage of candidates with pending criminal charges raises serious concerns about the integrity of the electoral process and the potential impact on the democratic system.

The ADR's analysis is based on the self-sworn affidavits submitted by the candidates. While the presence of criminal cases does not necessarily imply guilt, it does underscore the need for greater transparency and accountability in the political sphere. As voters prepare to exercise their democratic rights, it is crucial that they have access to comprehensive information about the candidates seeking to represent them in the .

The 2024 Lok Sabha elections are shaping up to be a closely contested battle between the ruling BJP and the opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), a coalition of 26 parties led by the Congress. With 96 constituencies across 10 states and union territories going to polls in the fourth phase, the criminal background of candidates is likely to be a significant factor in shaping voter preferences and the overall outcome of the elections.

Key Takeaways

  • 30% of candidates in 5 Odisha constituencies have criminal cases pending.
  • 20% of candidates face serious criminal charges, including murder and attempted murder.
  • BJP has the highest number of candidates with criminal cases (80%).
  • 19% of candidates in the first phase of Odisha elections had declared criminal cases.
  • Criminal background of candidates may influence voter preferences and election outcome.