Press Release: Meghalaya Assembly Elections 2023: Analysis of Criminal Background, Financial, Education, Gender and other Details of Candidates

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Feb 17, 2023, 1:37:21 AMFeb 17
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Press Release
17th February, 2023

Dear Friends,

The Meghalaya Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 375 candidates who are contesting in the Meghalaya Assembly Elections 2023. Out of 375 candidates analysed, 233 are from National parties, 69 are from State parties, 29 are from registered unrecognized parties and 44 candidates are contesting independently.



Summary and Highlights


image.png

Criminal Background

  • Candidates with Criminal Cases: Out of 375 candidates analyzed, 21 (6%) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves. In 2018 Meghalaya Assembly Elections, out of 370 candidates analysed, 25(7%) had declared criminal cases against themselves.
  • Candidates with Serious Criminal Cases: 15(4%) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves. In 2018 Meghalaya Assembly Elections, 21(6%) candidates had declared serious criminal cases against themselves. 

image.png
  Figure: Comparative analysis of Candidates with declared Criminal Cases: 2018 vs 2023
  • Party wise Candidates with Criminal Cases: Among the major parties, 5(8%) out of 60 candidates analysed from INC, 6(11%) out of 57 candidates analysed from NPP, 1(2%) out of 60 candidates analysed from BJP and 3 (5%) out of 56 candidates analysed from AITC have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
image.png
Figure: Party Wise Percentage of Candidates with Criminal Cases 

  • Party wise Candidates with Serious Criminal Cases: Among the major parties, 4(7%) out of 60 candidates analysed from INC, 4(7%) out of 57 candidates analysed from NPP, 1(2%) out of 60 candidates analysed from BJP and 2 (4%) out of 56 candidates analysed from AITC have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits. 
  • Candidates with declared cases related to murder: 2 candidates have declared cases related to murder (IPC Section-302) against themselves.
  • Candidates with declared cases related to attempt to murder: 3 candidates have declared cases related to Attempt to murder (IPC Section-307) against themselves.
  • Candidates with declared cases related to crime against women: 5 candidates have declared cases related to crime against women. Out of 5 candidates 1 candidate has declared case related to rape (IPC Section-376) and 1 candidate has declared case related to person committing rape repeatedly on the same woman (IPC Section- 376(2)(n)).
  • The directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties in selection of candidates in the Meghalaya Assembly Elections 2023 as they have again followed their old practice of giving tickets to around 6% candidates with criminal cases. All major parties contesting in Meghalaya elections have given tickets to 2 % to 50 % candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves. The Supreme Court in its directions dated 13th February, 2020 had specifically instructed political parties to give reasons for such selection and why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates. As per these mandatory guidelines, the reasons for such selection has to be with reference to qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned. During the recent 7 State Assembly elections held in 2022, it was observed that political parties gave unfounded and baseless reasons like popularity of the person, does good social work, cases are politically motivated etc. These are not sound and cogent reasons for fielding candidates with tainted backgrounds. This data clearly shows that political parties have no interest in reforming the electoral system and our democracy will continue to suffer at the hands of lawbreakers who become lawmakers.

Financial Background


image.png
Figure: Share of Wealth among the Contesting Candidates

  • Share of wealth among candidates: The share of wealth amongst the candidates contesting in the Meghalaya assembly elections 2023 is as follows:

Value of assets (Rs.)

Number of candidates

Percentage of Candidates

5 crores and above

85

23%

2 crores to 5 crores

47

13%

50 lakhs to 2 crores

103

27%

10 lakhs to 50 lakhs

76

20%

less than 10 lakhs

64

17%

Table: Share of wealth amongst contesting candidate

  • Crorepati Candidates: Out of the 375 candidates, 186 (50%) are crorepatis. In the 2018 Meghalaya Assembly Elections, out of 370 candidates, 152 (41%) were crorepatis.

image.png
Figure: Comparative Analysis of Crorepati Candidates: 2018 Vs 2023

  • Party wise Crorepati Candidates: The role of money power in our elections is evident from the fact that all major political parties give tickets to wealthy candidates. Among the major parties 43(75%) out of 57 candidates analysed from NPP, 30(65%) out of 46 candidates analysed from UDP, 27(48%) out of 56 candidates analysed from AITC, 25(42%) out of 60 candidates analysed from INC and 23(38%) out of 60 candidates analysed from BJP have declared assets valued more than Rs 1 crore.

image.png
Figure: Party Wise Percentage of Crorepati Candidates

 

  • Average assets: The average of assets per candidate contesting in the Meghalaya Assembly Elections 2023 is Rs 5.91 Crores. In the 2018 Meghalaya Assembly Elections, average assets per candidate for 370 candidates was Rs.3.54 Crores.
  • Party wise average assets: Among major parties, the average assets per candidate for 60 BJP candidates analysed is Rs. 2.71 Crores, 60 INC candidates analysed is Rs 4.34 Crores, 57 NPP candidates analysed is Rs 10.68 Crores, 56 AITC candidates analysed is Rs 4.95 Crores and 46 UDP candidates have average assets worth Rs.10.50 Crores.
  • High asset candidates: The details of top 3 candidates with highest declared assets, contesting in the Meghalaya Assembly Elections are given below:

S.No.

Name

District

Constituency

Party Name

Movable Assets (Rs)

Immovable Assets (Rs)

Total Assets (Rs)

PAN Given

1

Metbah Lyngdoh

West Khasi Hills

Mairang (ST)

UDP

87,49,27,463

58,82,24,375

1,46,31,51,838
 146 Crore+

Y

2

Vincent .H. Pala

East Jaintia Hills

Sutnga Saipung (ST)

INC

2,49,79,178

1,23,30,00,000

1,25,79,79,178
 125 Crore+

Y

3

Evalyni Kharbani

Ri Bhoi

Mawhati (ST)

Hill State People’s Democratic Party

15,04,37,649

94,80,00,000

1,09,84,37,649
 109 Crore+

Y

 Table: Top three candidates with highest declared assets

  • Low assets candidates: The details of three candidates with lowest assets are as follows:

S.No.

Name

District

Constituency

Party Name

Movable Assets (Rs)

Immovable Assets (Rs)

Total Assets (Rs)

PAN Given

1

Arbiangkam Kharsohmat

West Jaintia Hills

Amlarem (ST)

INC

9,000

0

9,000
 9 Thou+

Y

2

Thosengcheba A. Sangma

West Garo Hills

Raksamgre (ST)

Republican Party of India (A)

22,000

0

22,000
 22 Thou+

Y

3

Mark Rinaldy Sawkmie

West Khasi Hills

Mairang (ST)

BJP

23,461

0

23,461
 23 Thou+

Y

 Table: Candidates with declared lowest assets 

  • Candidates with high liabilities: 174(46%) candidates have declared liabilities in their affidavits. The details of top three candidates with highest liabilities are given below:

S.No.

Name

District

Constituency

Party Name

Total Assets(Rs)

Liabilities (Rs)

PAN Given

1

Metbah Lyngdoh

West Khasi Hills

Mairang (ST)

UDP

1,46,31,51,838
 146 Crore+

44,54,23,816
 44 Crore+

Y

2

Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar

South West Khasi Hills

Mawkyrwat (ST)

UDP

29,54,75,912
 29 Crore+

7,28,20,406
 7 Crore+

Y

3

Evalyni Kharbani

Ri Bhoi

Mawhati (ST)

Hill State People’s Democratic Party

1,09,84,37,649
 109 Crore+

4,81,35,939
 4 Crore+

Y

 Table: Top three candidates with highest liabilities

 

  • Candidates with high income as declared in the ITR*: The details of top 3 candidates with high income declared in ITR are given below:

S.No.

Name

Party Name

Constituency

District Name

Total Asset (Rs)

Self Source of Income

Spouse's Source of Income

The financial year for which the last income tax return has been filed by candidate

Total income shown by candidate in ITR (Self+Spouse+Dependent) (Rs)

Self income shown by candidate in ITR (Rs)

1

Sniawbhalang Dhar

NPP

Nartiang (ST)

West Jaintia Hills

45,35,80,343  

45 Crore+

Salary and Rental Income

Business

2022-2023

30,39,76,984  

30 Crore+

0

2

Mitchel Wankhar

UDP

Mylliem (ST)

East Khasi Hills

23,24,88,714  

23 Crore+

Businessman

Businesswoman

2021-2022

13,99,21,943  

13 Crore+

13,99,21,943  

13 Crore+

3

Ronald Rikman Sangma

UDP

Salmanpara (ST)

South West Garo Hills

51,48,04,650  

51 Crore+

Business, Rent from Shopping Complexes, Commercial Vehicle, Hotels, Petrol Pump etc.

Income from Tree House Resort etc.

2022-2023

5,38,14,540  

5 Crore+

4,09,85,165  

4 Crore+

 Table: Top 3 candidates with highest income as declared in ITR

  • Undeclared PAN:  A total of 2(1%) candidates have not declared their PAN details. 

Other Background Details

  • Education details of candidates: 132(35%) candidates have declared their educational qualifications to be between 5th and 12th standard while 235 (63%) candidates have declared having an educational qualification of graduate or above. 7 candidates are Diploma holders and 1 candidate has declared himself to be just literate.
  • Age details of candidates: 134(36%) candidates have declared their age to be between 25 to 40 years while 215(57%) candidates have declared their age to be between 41 to 60 years. There are 26(7%) candidates who have declared their age to be between 61 to 80 years.
  • Gender details of candidates: 36(10%) female candidates are contesting in the Meghalaya assembly election 2023. In 2018 Meghalaya Assembly Elections, 33(9%) out of 370 candidates analysed were women.

Recommendations of ADR

  • To remedy the existing problem of criminalization is to immediately act upon the plausible solutions offered by various committees, civil society and citizens. The Supreme Court of India being the ultimate custodian of “Justice and Rule of Law” should reprimand political parties and politicians for their complete lack of will, reprehensible predilection and absence of required laws. 
  • Permanent disqualification of candidates convicted for heinous crimes like murder, rape, smuggling, dacoity, kidnapping etc.
  • Disqualification of persons from contesting elections to the public offices against whom charges have been framed for having committed serious criminal offences punishable by imprisonment of at least 5 years, and the case is filed at least 6 months prior to the election in question.
  • Cancellation of tax exemptions given to the political parties who field such tainted candidates.
  • Bringing political parties under the Right to Information Act.  
  • De-register and de-recognise any political party if it knowingly puts up a candidate with a tainted background.
  • Political parties should annually file the information on criminal antecedents of their Office Bearers and make such records available to the public, including NIL records.
  • Disqualification of candidates furnishing false information in the election affidavit (Form 26).  
  • Ensure trial of cases in which the politicians are accused to be concluded in a time bound manner.
  • Implementation of SC judgment dated 23rd September, 2013 (i.e provision of NOTA buttons on the EVMs) in its letter and spirit by ensuring a) if NOTA gets more votes than any of the candidates, none of the candidates should be declared elected, and a fresh election should be held; b) in the fresh election, none of the candidates in the earlier election, in which NOTA got the highest number of votes, should be allowed to contest.
  • Implementation of the 25th September, 2018 and 13th February, 2020 SC orders on 'publication of criminal cases against candidates selected by political parties along with reasons for such selection' in its letter and spirit by directing the Election Commission of India ato list out names of such tainted candidates selected by the political parties along with such reasons for such selection C8 including diligent publication of reasons in newspapers, T.V channels, party website etc, b) strict and constant reminders by ROs to the defaulters, c) list needs to be religiously prepared and submitted to the Supreme Court after every election, d) uploading of this list on ECI’s website for public inspection, e) a suitably heavy financial penalty levied on political parties for making insufficient disclosures, invalid and common reasons, selection of candidates based on winnability and f) Officer in-charge of a political party pertaining to submission of a compliance report should also be held accountable for such a breach. 
  • The Election Commission of India and all State Election Commissions should make it mandatory in all elections; Parliamentary, Assembly and Local Body elections to carry display boards outside each and every polling booth showing a summarised version of candidates’ affidavits. The polling booths should essentially display details of candidate’s criminal records, assets and liabilities and education qualification.  
  • The Election Commission of India under its ‘Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation’ (SVEEP) as well as through other national campaigns on voter awareness held before every election should inform and aware the voters that (i) taking and giving cash or gifts/freebies for votes is a criminal offense, (ii) such instances should be brought to the notice of the ECI through its web application, (iii) inform voters that information on criminal records of candidates is available on the ECI website, outside polling booths and other sources that the ECI may use.
  • Political parties in India should be required to announce/publish the list of candidates contesting elections at least 3 months prior to elections.
  • The role of money and muscle power is evident from the fact that all major political parties in Meghalaya assembly elections 2023 have fielded 33% to 75% candidates who are crorepatis and 2% to 50% candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves. This close and alarming nexus between money power and muscle power has got so ingrained in our electoral system that the citizens are left hostage to the current situation.  Money and muscle power hurt the principles of 'free and fair elections', 'participatory democracy' and 'level playing field'.  The present circumstances therefore demand an extensive deliberation by the voters so that sanctity of elections is not ridiculed by tenacious entry of tainted candidates and candidates with abnormal multiplication of assets


Contact Details

Meghalaya Election Watch

 

Ms. Mayfereen Ryntathiang

State Co-ordinator
+91-8575017983
mayferee...@gmail.com

 

National Election Watch/Association for Democratic Reforms

Media and Journalist Helpline

 

+91 80103 94248

Email: a...@adrindia.org

Maj.Gen. Anil Verma (Retd)

Head

Association for Democratic Reforms,

National Election Watch

011 4165 4200,

+91 88264 79910

a...@adrindia.org,

anil...@adrindia.org

Prof JagdeepChhokar

IIM Ahmedabad (Retd.)

Founder Member,

Association for Democratic Reforms,

National Election Watch

jchh...@gmail.com

Prof TrilochanSastry

IIM Bangalore

Founder Member,

Association for Democratic Reforms,

National Election Watch

+91 94483 53285

tsa...@gmail.com

--
Association for Democratic Reforms

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(Near Gulmohar Commercial Complex)
Gautam Nagar
New Delhi-110 049

Mob No: +91 8010394248 
Fax No.: 011 4609 4248


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