Hyderabad: How can political parties justify the selection of the candidates with criminal cases to fight the elections? And it would be more intriguing if the party itself is led by a candidate with the highest numbers of criminal cases?

The Supreme Court yesterday directed all political parties to post the names of the candidates with criminal cases with a justification as to why the party chose them as the candidates. The SC also asked the political parties to give ample publicity for the list by posting them on social media platforms.

As for Andhra Pradesh of the total candidates (2011) contested in 2019 Assembly elections, 334 candidates (17%) declared criminal cases in their affidavits submitted to the Election Commission.

As many as 222 candidates (11%) were facing serious criminal cases. What surprises many is the fact that 55 per cent (96) with declared criminal cases were winners.

From among those with serious criminal cases, 55 candidates (55 per cent) were lucky enough to enter the August House.

According to the Association of Democratic Rights (ADR) that analyzed the affidavits of candidates and the winners, 50 MLAs from the ruling YSR Congress are facing criminal cases.

Of the remaining five, four are from Telugu Desam Party and one is from Jana Sena. Eight of these 55 MLAs have been convicted in one case or the other.

According to ADR analysis, chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy leads the list of elected members with serious criminal charges. As many as 38 cases are booked against him.

Reacting on the party candidates’ criminal cases, YSRC MLA Amabati Rambau said,” all leaders facing criminal cases have mentioned them in the affidavits at the time of filing their nominations. They cannot be considered as criminal until the charges framed against them are proved.”

TDP spokesperson Varla Ramaiah, however, has a different opinion. According to him, a person like YS Jaganmohan Reddy who is facing many serious cases filed by CBI and ED is not supposed to hold the office of the chief minister. “It is unfortunate that it has happened in Andhra Pradesh. A debate must be held in the Parliament on the rationality in allowing persons with criminal cases to head the governments,’ Varla told media.

The YSRCP MLAs facing criminal charges more than 6 from AP Assembly are Udayabhanu Samineni (18), Sankara Narayana Mulugundla (6), Ramakrishna Reddy Alla (7), Ramireddy Pratap Kumar Reddy (7) Pochimareddy Ravindranath Reddy (7), Mohammad Mustafa Shaik (8), Mahesh Reddy Kasu (6), Kolusu Partha Sarathi (9) Kethireddy Venkatramireddy (8), Jogi Ramesh (16), Jakkampudi Raja (6)Dr. Chevireddy Bhaskar Reddy (16), and Dadisetti Raja(15). From TDP the highest number is 3. They are Ghanta Srinivas Rao(3) and Vasupalli Ganesh Kumar(3).

Jinka Nagaraju

Jinka Nagaraju is a Hyderabad based journalist. He covered the entire spectrum of political activities of Telugu states from Hyderabad and New Delhi for about 3 decades. He represented Vaartha in New Delhi during the most happening decade of 1996-2006. He was political correspondent of Times of India from Hyderabad for 10 years. He was editor of Asianet’s Telugu digital platform. He contributed to many digital media outlets such as Al Jazeera, News 18, Newsable, South Post, The Lede ,Down to Earth etc. He is known for his Anthropological approach in the news analysis. He studied Physical Anthropology and prehistoric archaeology with Human population genetics as specialization, and his area of interest is Political Anthropology and Media Anthropology.

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