NEW DELHI: Has Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which came into existence with the stated aim of cleansing politics, preferred "winnability" over probity? It appears so since as many as 23 of its candidates contesting the Delhi polls have criminal cases pending against them, according to Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
Of course, AAP's rivals in the hotly fought battle for Delhi fare no better. In fact, BJP, despite PM Modi's prepoll declaration that criminal cases against netas will be fast-tracked, leads others in fielding candidates with criminal cases. It has 27 (39% of total) such nominees while Congress has 21.
In all, 17% of all candidates in the fray have criminal cases against them, up from 14% in 2008 and 16% in 2013, ADR said after analysing election affidavits filed by all 673 contestants. It found BJP's chief ministerial nominee, Kiran Bedi, ranks eighth among candi dates with the highest annual income (combined income of her spouse, her and depndant dependent) amounting to Rs 67 lakh.AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal has 10 criminal cases against him, including those of defamation, deterring public servants from duty and rioting.
A DR said the number of crorepatis in the fray had risen to 34%, up from 23% in 2008 and 33% in 2013. Of the 114 candidates, 74 of them have declared serious criminal cases against them including murder, attempt to murder, assault, kidnapping and crimes against women.
Among the candidates with the highest number of cases pending against them is Shoaib Iqbal, contesting on a Congress ticket from Matia Mahal, with 13 cases against him. He is followed by Congress candidate from Okhla, Asif Mohammed Khan, with seven cases and BSP's Surendra Kumar from Gokalpur who has de clared two cases. The use of money power has also gone up. Congress fielded the maximum of 59 crorepatis while BJP and AAP have fielded 44 and 28 crorepatis each. The richest candidate is Akali Dal's Manjinder Singh Sirsa f ..