260 MLAs and MPs contested polls while facing sexual assault charges


Political parties may have joined the entire nation in expressing outrage over the gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in the Capital, but they have never shied away from fielding in elections the candidates facing charges of crimes against women.


A report compiled by the National Election Watch (NEW) and the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has revealed that about 260 candidates facing charges such as rape, assault and outraging the modesty of a woman contested assembly elections on tickets of various parties in the last five years.


The Congress was leading the ‘shame-list’ with 26 such candidates followed by the BJP [Bhartiya Janata Party] (24), the [Bahujan Samaj Party]BSP (18) and the Samajwadi Party (16), the report said.


In Maharashtra, 41 such candidates were given tickets, while 37 got tickets in Uttar Pradesh and 22 in West Bengal.


At least 27 candidates from the list were charged with rape and still managed to contest assembly elections, it stated.


“By giving tickets to candidates who have been charged with crimes against women especially rape, political parties have been in a way abetting to circumstances that lead to such events … but (they) vehemently condemn in Parliament,” the organizations said, demanding that even the cases against such elected representatives be “fast tracked.”


In a statement, they said: “Such people should be debarred from contesting elections and the political parties should be forced to disclose the criteria on which candidates are given tickets.”


Sadly, according to the report, such candidates weren’t just restricted to the state assemblies.


“In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, political parties gave tickets to six candidates who declared that they had been charged with rape,” it stated.


In all, 34 candidates who contested 2009 elections declared that they had been charged with various crimes against women.


The NEW and ADR representatives said they had sourced the information from affidavits filed by the candidates with the election commission.


“Since they condemn such incidents in Parliament and outside, the least they can do is not give tickets to persons from such backgrounds,” they said.


India is embarrassed and exasperated. The vicious gang-rape and torment of a 23-year-old girl has left people across the country traumatized. Such incidences have occurred previously too; but no solutions to curb such gruesome incidences have been initiated by the Central Government and the Police Department. The enormous outrage has extended across cities even as the chorus for justice grows. Parliamentarians across the political divide are also demanding that the government do everything probable to make the country ¿ especially Delhi, given its dubious distinction as India’s rape capital – safe for women. India is in pain. After all, the victim was just another normal 23-year-old girl with dreams and aspirations in life before everything changed, for no fault of hers.


Mail Today Reporter (Mail on Line Dec 21, 2012)

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