Around 181 candidates of the four major parties contesting the Telangana elections have criminal cases against them, a non-profit organisation based in Hyderabad, Telangana Election Watch, has found. The NGO studied the election affidavits filed by the candidates of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Telangana Congress (Kutami) and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).
According to Telangana Election Watch, it was found that for 119 Assembly seats, there are 365 candidates from the said parties in the fray; and out of the 365 candidates, 181 candidates have cases against them. The cases registered against the leaders range from charges of rioting and conducting protests and rasta rokos, to more serious charges like criminal intimidation and attempt to murder.
The organisation has found that from the TRS, 57 out of 119 (47.8 per cent) candidates have criminal cases against them. These candidates include incumbent CM K Chandrashekar Rao himself, who faces multiple charges, including one related to criminal intimidation. Other prominent politicians from TRS, who have charges against them are Balka Suman (contesting from Chennur), ministers KT Rama Rao (contesting from Siricilla), Etela Rajender (contesting from Huzurabad), T Harish Rao (contesting from Siddipet), Talsani Srinivas Yadav (contesting from Santhoshnagar), Jogu Ramana (contesting from Adilabad) and Pocharam Srinivas Reddy (contesting from Banswada), among others.
The study found that out of 119 candidates fielded by the Telangana Congress, 77 (64.7%) of them have criminal charges against them. These include Telangana Congress Chief Uttam Kumar Reddy (contesting from Huzurnagar), who faces a case of criminal intimidation, and other senior party leaders such as Jana Reddy (contesting from Nagarjuna Sagar), Sabitha Indra Reddy (Maheshwaram), DK Aruna (Gadwal) and Konda Surekha (Parkal).
40 candidates (33.6) out of the total 119 candidates that the BJP has fielded face criminal charges. These include BJP state chief K Laxman and controversial Goshamahal MLA Raja Singh, who faces a charge of attempt to murder.
Seven candidates out of the eight AIMIM candidates contesting the Telangana elections face criminal charges. This includes AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi’s brother, Akbaruddin Owaisi, who faces charges of promoting enmity between different groups and criminal intimidation.
“Out of the above, if a higher number of candidates win the elections in the coming Assembly elections, more than half the legislators will have cases against them. Political parties gave tickets to winnable candidates irrespective of their criminal record. This is not good for our democracy,” the NGO added in its report.
The state of Telangana is scheduled to go to the polls on December 7 and the results will be announced on December 11. Around 1,800 candidates have filed their nominations for the elections.
Read TNM’s complete coverage of the Telangana Assembly Elections 2018 here.