PANAJI: As many as 40 newly-elected MLAs in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly have criminal cases pending against them as per their election affidavits, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the Gujarat Election Watch.
Of these 40 MLAs, 29 members (16 per cent of a total 182) are facing serious criminal cases, such as the attempt to murder and rape, the ADR analysis showed. Among the 29 members, 20 belong to BJP, four to Congress, two are from Aam Aadmi Party, two are Independents, and one is from Samajwadi Party.
In the just-concluded Assembly elections, counting for which was held on December 8, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a seventh straight term in Gujarat by winning record 156 seats. The Congress won 17 constituencies and AAP 5. The ADR study shows 26 (17 per cent) of the 156 MLAs of BJP, 9 (53 per cent) of 17 MLAs of Congress, two of five MLAs of AAP (40 per cent), two (68 per cent) of three Independents and lone Samajwadi Party candidate- Kandhal Jadeja- have declared criminal cases pending against them. ADR works for electoral reforms and prepares such reports after analysing affidavits of all 182 newly-elected MLAs. The study said the number of MLAs facing criminal cases decreased compared to 2017 when 47 elected members were found to be facing such cases.
At least three winning candidates have declared they are facing cases of attempt to murder under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code. These candidates are Congress MLA from Vansda, Anant Patel, Congress MLA from Patan, Kirit Patel, and BJP MLA from Una, Kalubhai Rathod.
The study also shows four winning candidates have declared cases related to crimes against women under section 354 (outraging modesty of women) or under section 376 (rape) of the IPC. Of these four, BJP's Jetha Bharwad faces rape charges while Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani, BJP MLA Janak Talaviya and AAP MLA Chaitar Vasava face charges under section 354 of the IPC.