Press Release: Odisha Assembly Elections 2024 Phase I: Analysis of Criminal Background, Financial, Education, Gender and other Details of Candidates

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May 6, 2024, 2:38:40 AMMay 6
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Press Release
Date: May 6, 2024

Dear Friends,
The Odisha Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 243 candidates, who are contesting in the Odisha Assembly Elections Phase I. 


Summary and Highlights

image.png

Criminal Background

  • Candidates with Criminal Cases: Out of 243 candidates analyzed, 65 (27%) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
  • Candidates with Serious Criminal Cases: 48(20%) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
  • Party wise Candidates with Criminal Cases: Among the major parties,18(64%) out of 28 candidates analysed from BJP, 17(61%) out of 28 candidates analysed from INC, 9 (32%) out of 28 candidates analysed from BJD and 3 (27%) out of 11 candidates analysed from AAP have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
  • Party wise Candidates with Serious Criminal Cases: Among the major parties,15(54%) out of 28 candidates analysed from BJP, 10(36%) out of 28 candidates analysed from INC, 3 (27%) out of 11 candidates analysed from AAP and 4(14%) out of 28 candidates analysed from BJD have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

image.png
Figure: Party Wise Percentage of Candidates with Criminal Cases

  • Red Alert Constituencies*: 12(43%) out of 28 constituencies are red alert constituencies. Red alert constituencies are those where 3 or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
  • The directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties in selection of candidates in the Odisha Assembly Elections Phase I as they have again followed their old practice of giving tickets to around 27% candidates with criminal cases.  All major parties contesting in Odisha Elections Phase 1 have given tickets from 27 % to 64 % 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 5 State Assembly elections held in 2023, 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. 

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 Odisha assembly elections 2024 phase I is as follows:

Value of assets (Rs.)

Number of candidates

Percentage of Candidates

Rs. 5 crores and above

13

5%

Rs. 2 crores to Rs. 5 crores

25

10%

Rs. 50 lakhs to Rs. 2 crores

65

27%

Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 50 lakhs

49

20%

less than Rs. 10 lakhs

91

38%

Table: Share of wealth amongst contesting candidates

  • Crorepati Candidates: Out of the 243 candidates, 70 (29%) are crorepatis.
  • 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 25(89%) out of 28 candidates analysed from BJD, 14(50%) out of 28 candidates analysed from BJP, 14(50%) out of 28 candidates analysed from INC and 2(18%) out of 11 candidates analysed from AAP 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 Odisha Assembly Elections 2024 Phase I is Rs 1.21 Crore.  
  • Party wise average assets: Among major parties, the average assets per candidate for 28 BJD candidates analysed is Rs. 4.49 Crores, 28 INC candidates analysed is Rs 1.87 Crores, 28 BJP candidates have average assets of Rs 1.74 Crores and 11 AAP candidates have average assets worth Rs. 56.68 Lakhs.

  • High asset candidates: The details of top 3 candidates with highest declared assets, contesting in the Odisha Assembly Elections Phase I are given below:

S.No.

Name

District

Constituency

Party Name

Movable Assets (Rs)

Immovable Assets (Rs)

Total Assets (Rs)

PAN Given

1

Biplab Patro

Ganjam

Digapahandi

BJD

4,33,03,144

29,03,56,608

33,36,59,752
 33 Crore+

Y

2

Bikram Kumar Panda

Ganjam

Gopalpur

BJD

6,15,24,332

9,79,70,000

15,94,94,332
 15 Crore+

Y

3

Sudhir Ranjan Pattjoshi

Kalahandi

Dharamgarh

BJP

1,83,69,745

10,17,97,100

12,01,66,845
 12 Crore+

Y

Table: Top three candidates with highest declared assets

  • Zero assets candidates: There are 2 candidates who have declared zero assets. The details of these candidates are given below:

S.No.

Name

District

Constituency

Party Name

Movable Assets (Rs)

Immovable Assets (Rs)

Total Assets (Rs)

PAN Given

1

Ramesh Kumar Mahanand

Kalahandi

Bhawanipatna (SC)

IND

0

0

0

Y

2

Purna Chandra Majhi

Rayagada

Rayagada (ST)

BSP

0

0

0

Y

Table: Candidates with declared zero assets
  • Low assets candidates: The details of three candidates with lowest assets (excluding zero assets candidate) are as follows:

S.No.

Name

District

Constituency

Party Name

Movable Assets (Rs)

Immovable Assets (Rs)

Total Assets (Rs)

PAN Given

1

Ramesh Jani

Koraput

Lakshmipur (ST)

Republican Party of India (A)

1,000

0

1,000
 1 Thou+

Y

2

Siba Prasad Sagadia

Koraput

Koraput (SC)

IND

1,921

0

1,921
 1 Thou+

N

3

Bhuban Khora

Koraput

Koraput (SC)

IND

6,000

0

6,000
 6 Thou+

Y

Table: Candidates with declared lowest assets
  • Candidates with high liabilities: 104(43%) 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

Bikram Kumar Panda

Ganjam

Gopalpur

BJD

15,94,94,332
 15 Crore+

4,24,19,028
 4 Crore+

Y

2

Indira Nanda

Koraput

Jeypore

BJD

11,46,56,660
 11 Crore+

2,86,66,404
 2 Crore+

Y

3

Bijay Kumar Patnaik

Gajapati

Paralakhemundi

INC

9,41,57,990
 9 Crore+

1,85,92,743
 1 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

Total Assets (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

Bikram Kumar Panda

BJD

Gopalpur

Ganjam

15,94,94,332

15 Crore+

House Property, Business & Profession & Other Sources

Business & Profession & Other Sources

2022-2023

69,21,259

69 Lacs+

48,66,199

48 Lacs+

2

Rupesh Kumar Panigrahi

BJD

Paralakhemundi

Gajapati

3,10,03,526

3 Crore+

Salary Income

Salary Income

2022-2023

62,41,210

62 Lacs+

48,19,110

 

48 Lacs+

3

Jagannath Saraka

BJD

Bissam Cuttack (St)

Rayagada

2,17,56,055

2 Crore+

Agriculture

Nil

2023-2024

46,89,980

46 Lacs+

46,89,980

46 Lacs+

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

Other Background Details
  • Education details of candidates: 132(54%) candidates have declared their educational qualifications to be between 5th and 12th standard while 100(41%) candidates have declared having an educational qualification of graduate or above. 7 candidates are Diploma holders. 4 candidates have declared themselves to be just literate.
  • Age details of candidates: 73(30%) candidates have declared their age to be between 25 to 40 years while 144 (59%) candidates have declared their age to be between 41 to 60 years.  There are 26(11%) candidates who have declared their age to be between 61 to 80 years.
  • Gender details of candidates: 32(13%) female candidates are contesting in the Odisha assembly election 2024 Phase I.  

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.
  • Role of money and muscle power is evident from the fact that all major political parties in Odisha Assembly Elections 2024 Phase I have fielded 18% to 89% candidates who are crorepatis and 27% to 64 % 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

 

Odisha Election Watch


 

Association for Democratic Reforms/National Election Watch

 

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,

a...@adrIndia.org,

anil...@adrindia.org

 

Prof Jagdeep Chhokar

IIM Ahmedabad (Retd.)

Founder Member,

Association for Democratic Reforms,

National Election Watch

jchh...@gmail.com

Prof Trilochan Sastry

IIM Bangalore

Founder Member,

Association for Democratic Reforms,

National Election Watch

tsa...@gmail.com



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