Mumbai: At the end of the term of the current (16th) Lok Sabha, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continues to have the highest number of parliamentarians charged with criminal offences.

Across parties, of the 521 Lok Sabha members of parliament (MPs), 106 (20%) are charged with serious offences such as murder, inciting communal disharmony, kidnapping and crimes against women.

As many as 55% of these are from the BJP (92), compared with 2% from the Congress (7), 3% from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) (6), 17% from the Shiv Sena (15) and 7% from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) (7), an analysis by National Election Watch (NEW), a campaign run by the advocacy group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), shows.

The composition of the lower house of parliament has changed during its five-year term due to by-elections held for a variety of reasons including death, bankruptcy, mental illness or conviction for a serious criminal offence.

The 2014 elections saw the highest number of people facing criminal charges being elected to the Lok Sabha, a 14% increase from 2009, as IndiaSpend reported on May 23, 2014.

From the beginning of the current Lok Sabha until now, there has been a marginal decrease in the number of MPs with criminal cases, from 186 (34%) of the initially elected 541 members to 174 (33%) of 521 members now.

Source: Association for Democratic Reforms

By the end of this Lok Sabha term, the number of MPs charged with serious criminal offences has increased in 15 states, five of which have BJP governments and two have Congress governments. Bihar, where the number has increased the most (from 8 to 18), is ruled by the Janata Dal United, currently part of the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre.

At the beginning of the term, Uttar Pradesh had 12 MPs with serious criminal cases against them, the highest among all states, and now has even more at 21. In Maharashtra, from 11 at the beginning of term, the number is now 19. In Bihar, the number has more than doubled, from 8 in 2014 to 18 in 2019.

Source: Association for Democratic Reforms

The BJP had 98 MPs facing criminal charges at the beginning of the term, 35 of which were serious charges. The BJP continues to have the maximum number, and the number of serious charges has increased to 58 of the 92 MPs.

At the end of the term, 15 are from the Shiv Sena, seven from the Congress, seven from TMC and six from the AIADMK. Of the 106 members charged with serious offences, 55% are from the BJP.

10 of the 106 are charged with murder--four from the BJP, one each from Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Loktantrik Janata Dal, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Swabhimani Paksha, and one is an independent.

14 MPs face cases of attempt to murder--eight from the BJP and one each from the Congress, TMC, NCP, RJD, Shiv Sena and Swabhimani Paksha.

An equal number are charged for inciting communal disharmony, a large majority of 10 from the BJP, and one each from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Pattali Makkal Katchi, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen and All India United Democratic Front.

In all, 430 of the 521 MPs have declared assets of more than Rs 1 crore. The BJP has the most--85% of their 267 MPs. The average assets held by BJP MPs amount to Rs 11.89 crore.

The Congress has 37 crorepati MPs but the average amount of assets held by them is higher at Rs 15.57 crore. There are 29 crorepati MPs from the AIADMK and 22 from the TMC.

(Abraham is an intern at IndiaSpend.)

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