Assaulted, Abducted or Raped a Woman? Please be my MLA.

India has always been a world leader at electing those with pending criminal cases. Our political parties have forever provided us with a steady pipeline of criminally tainted candidates . And as electors, we always deliver by continuing to elect legislators who are accused of every crime under the sun from petty thefts to kidnappings and murders. We currently have the most criminalized Lok Sabha in history. #AccheDin.

All data is courtesy Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

In recent times, our egos have often been bruised by the international spotlight shining on us for being a country that is unsafe for women. Getting justice for crimes committed against women has led to people protesting in streets and lengthy debates in society. While this is a multi-faceted problem with many narratives, we probably should not be elevating those accused with committing crimes against women to positions of power. But that would make too much sense. So both our political parties and electors have combined their forces to give us 51 legislators who have pending  criminal cases that include charges of crimes against women.

What constitutes as ‘crime against women’?

All political candidates are mandated to submit their criminal backgrounds to the election commission prior to contesting elections. As per ADR, those legislators who have any of the following 6 IPC charges against them have been classified as having committed a crime that qualifies:

  1. Section 354: charge related to Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty
  2. Section 366: charge related to Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc.
  3. Section 373: charge related to Buying minor for purposes of prostitution, etc.
  4. Section 376: charge related to rape
  5. Section 498A: charge related to Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty
  6. Section 509: charge related to Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman

Which political parties are the worst offenders?

As per data analyzed by ADR for the past 5 years, all our major political parties have backed candidates who are being investigated for crimes against women. Here are the number of such candidates who were given tickets by our major political parties:

  • BJP – 48 candidates with cases related to crimes against women
  • BSP – 36 candidates
  • Congress (INC) – 27 candidates
  • CPM – 12 candidates
  • Trinamool Congress – 12 candidates
  • CPI – 10 candidates
  • NCP – 6 candidates

And here is the full list of the 51 MPs/MLAs with cases related to crimes against women. We, the voters, elected these candidates into power.

Bijaya KumarMohantyBJDBhubaneswar Central (Madhya)Orissa
Nrusingha Charan SahuBJDParjangaOrissa
Pratap JenaBJDMahangaOrissa
Samir Ranjan DashBJDNimaparaOrissa
Ashok Kumar RanaBJPDhampurUttar Pradesh
Bahadur SinghBJPBharatpurLoksabha
Bhushan Ashokbhai BhattBJPJamalpur- KhadiaGujarat
Eknathrao GanpatraoKhadseBJPMuktainagarMaharashtra
Ganesh JoshiBJPMussoorieUttarakhand
Jethabhai G. Ahir (JethaBharvad)BJPShehraGujarat
Manish JaishwalBJPHazaribaghJharkhand
Mehta Prakash ManchhubhaiBJPGhatkopar EastMaharashtra
Raj PurohitBJPColabaMaharashtra
Rushtam SinghBJPMorenaMadhya Pradesh
Sahdev Singh PundirBJPSahaspurUttarakhand
Sardar Tara SinghBJPMulundMaharashtra
Smt.Devyani FarandeBJPNashik (Central)Maharashtra
Swadhin Kumar SarkarBJPBaishnabnagarWest Bengal
Sk. Amjad HossainCPI(M)PanduaWest Bengal
S.PugazhenthiDMKMadurantakamTamil Nadu
Sekar Babu P KDMKHarbourTamil Nadu
Apurba SarkarINCKandiWest Bengal
Bhupendra Nath HalderINCMalda (Sc)West Bengal
Dulal Chandra BarINCBagda (Sc)West Bengal
Manoj RawatINCKedarnathUttarakhand
Subal SahuINCBijepurOrissa
Adv.Joice GeorgeIndependentIdukkiLoksabha
Mankala SubbaVaidyaIndependentBhatkalKarnataka
Sanatan MahakudIndependentChampuaOrissa
Amit KumarJMMSilliJharkhand
Chamra LindaJMMBishunpur (St)Jharkhand
Gulab YadavRJDJhanjharpurBihar
Sanjay Kumar SinghRJDKarakatBihar
Anil Sahebrao KadamShiv SenaNiphadMaharashtra
Chabukswar GautamSukhdeoShiv SenaPimpri (Sc)Maharashtra
Dhoot RajkumarNandlalShiv Sena--Rajya Sabha
Jadhav HarshvardhanRaibhanShiv SenaKannadMaharashtra
Potnis Sanjay GovindShiv SenaKalinaMaharashtra
Rajesh Vinayakrao KshirsagarShiv SenaKolhapur NorthMaharashtra
Sunil RajaramRautShiv SenaVikhroliMaharashtra
Atchannaidu KinjarapuTDPTekkaliAndhra Pradesh
Bandaru Satyanarayana MurthyTDPPendurthiAndhra Pradesh
Chinthamaneni PrabhakarTDPDenduluruAndhra Pradesh
Gonuguntla SuryanarayanaTDPDharmavaramAndhra Pradesh
Uma Maheswara Rao DevineniTDPMylavaramAndhra Pradesh
Amirul IslamTrinamoolSamserganjWest Bengal
Becharam MannaTrinamoolHaripalWest Bengal
Dipak Kumar HalderTrinamoolDiamond HarbourWest Bengal
Iqbal AhmedTrinamoolKhanakulWest Bengal
Partha Pratim RayTrinamoolCoochbehar (SC)Loksabha
Tapas Kumar SahaTrinamoolPalashiparaWest Bengal

Of these 51, four MLAs are accused of rape, here they are:

There aren’t a lot of jobs in the country that would be available to those with such criminal backgrounds. But our political system always remains accepting and tolerant of those with criminal backgrounds.

Why do political parties give tickets to such candidates?

Our political parties are obsessed with winning elections. Any candidate that maximizes these chances will be chosen by political parties irrespective of competency or criminal background. Even though these parties form the backbone of the world’s largest democracy, there is zero democracy in the functioning of political parties. Every attempt made to increase transparency in the political system, is fought by the government and all political parties.

As voters, we are only too happy to rationalize decisions taken by our favourite political parties. There is little pressure put by supporters and members of various parties on their political leadership, to make changes that would not see such candidates being given tickets. Often, our entire focus is on the victory of our ideology or our favourite political personality (Modi, Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi etc.) irrespective of how this victory is achieved – which usually means filling our legislative assemblies with lawmakers who are corrupt, incompetent and often criminally tainted.

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