The BJP has fielded the highest number of ‘crorepatis’ in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh urban body election, according to data analysed by an NGO. It also had the highest number of candidates with criminal record.Voting for 452 municipal posts, including 16 Mayoral posts, will be held in three phases starting November 22. Counting will be on December 1.The data on assets were compiled by Election Watch of the Association for Democratic Reforms, which analyses elections and builds public awareness. Four out of 14, or 29%, of the BJP’s mayoral candidates in U.P. have criminal cases against them. The BSP comes a close second with 21%, or three out of 14 candidates. The SP and the Congress shared the third position among the major parties: 13% of their Mayor candidates have criminal records. The AAP has only one such candidate.Overall, 20 of the 195 candidates across U.P. for the Mayor posts have criminal records against them, 17 of them of a serious nature. Chaudhary Basheer, an independent candidate from Agra, topped the table with six criminal cases under his belt.None of the candidates in Lucknow, reserved for women this time, has a criminal background.The BJP shared the honours for candidates with the highest declared assets with the BSP. Seventy-nine percent of the candidates fielded by the BJP and BSP are crorepatis. It is 73% in the case of SP and the Congress.Overall, across U.P., 70 out of 195, or 38% of the candidates, are declared crorepatis. Navin Kumar Jain, the BJP candidate in Agra, was by far the richest with assets worth ₹409 crore, followed by his party colleague Abhilasha Gupta from Allahabad who declared ₹58 crore. Brijendra Vyas Damdam Maharaj, the BSP nominee in Jhansi, was the third richest with assets worth ₹37 crore.Anil Sharma, coordinator, U.P. Election Watch, said while there was the usual display of money power in the municipal polls, which include Nagar Palika Parishads and Nagar Panchayats, some candidates resorted to innovative ways to escape the radar of the Election Commission. If a candidate was distributing biryani in Jhansi, another in Gorakhpur was giving out free footballs. In Moradabad, a candidate tried to lure voters by distributing brass items, while in Lucknow, a candidate gifted wall clocks in his ward. In Ambedkarnagar, the ADR found, candidates were distributing free biryani and liquor.A good signThe Election Watch also observed that voters this year seemed to consider the credentials of the candidate, instead of merely focusing on party affiliations. “People have shown a tendency to back good candidates. It is a good sign,” said Sanjay Singh, coordinator of the Election Watch. But how did he come to this conclusion? “It was based on a focused group discussion involving 500 people,” he said.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Assam government over inadequacies in the functioning of Foreigners’ Tribunals in the state and sought details on it by March 27. The government told a bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, that 50,000 migrants were declared foreigners by the Tribunal in the past 10 years. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Assam government, said around 900 people were kept in six detention centres of the State.The bench, which also comprised Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, said the State government would have to specify through an affidavit whether the foreigners tribunals functioning in the State were adequate and how they were functioning. The top court, however, added that it was not insisting on the presence of Assam chief secretary in the court at present. The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by activist Harsh Mander through advocate Prashant Bhushan on the plight of foreigners in detention centres. The plea alleged that they were kept in detention indefinitely just because they were not Indians and were treated as “illegal aliens”.During the previous hearing, the court had expressed concern over thousands of illegal migrants being kept in detention centres for years in Assam without being repatriated or deported to their countries of origin. It had raised several issues connected with the detention centre and said the detainees could not be held for an indefinite period. The apex court had also sought to know the condition of detention centres, saying the PIL alleged sub-human conditions there. Mr. Mehta had said there was a need for evolving a mechanism for repatriating them and it should be done expeditiously. The solicitor general was responding to the January 28 queries of the apex court, which had asked the Centre and State to provide details of functional detention centres in Assam and the foreigners detained in them during the last 10 years.Mr. Mehta had told the apex court that 938 people were lodged in six detention centres in Assam and 823 of them have been declared foreigners by tribunals. The Centre had said over 27,000 foreigners have been pushed back at border points while attempting to enter India illegally.
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