Many anti-corruption movements have highlighted the increasing criminalisation of politics. Yet, there seems to be no connection between electoral gains and criminalisaiton. If anything, it seems to work in the candidates’ favour.

Consider this: the recently concluded Gujarat elections saw 57 MLAs (31%) with criminal cases of the total 182 MLAs analysed by Association for Democratic Reforms, which is run by a group of professors of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. ADR’s mission is to improve governance by empowering the electorate and greater accountability of political parties.

IndiaSpend looks at the ADR document that analyses criminal cases against MLAs in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. And we find that Uttar Pradesh has the maximum number of MLAs with criminal cases (35%). The following table gives an idea of the MLAs of 4 states when it comes to criminal charges:

Table 1: Criminal MLAs

StatesTotal Number of MLAs AnalysedMLAs with Pending Criminal Cases%of MLAs with Pending Criminal CasesMLAs with Serious Pending Criminal Cases% of MLAs with Serious Pending Criminal Cases
Uttar Pradesh 403143357619
Punjab 117201754
Uttarakhand 701724710

Out of the total number of 872 MLAs studied by ADR (including Manipur and Goa), 247 had pending criminal cases against them.

From the graph, it is seen that Uttar Pradesh has the highest percentage of MLAs with pending criminal cases, and also tops the list with MLAs having serious pending criminal cases.

Gujarat, incidentally, has a lower number of MLAs but is very near to Uttar Pradesh when it comes to percentage of MLAs with criminal charges. Uttarakhand has lower number of MLAs than Punjab but has a greater percentage of MLAs with criminal charges.

Table 2 gives an idea of the top 3 MLAs of these states who have the maximum number of criminal cases registered against them:

Table 2: Criminal MLAs

NameDistrict/Constituency PartyTotal Number of CasesSerious IPC Counts
Uttar Pradesh
Dhirendra Pratap SinghBalrampur/BalrampurBSP2913
Sushil KumarChandauli/DhanapurBSP1413
Ram Prakash YadavFirozabad/JasranaIND1112
Vasava Chhotubhai AmarsinhBharuch/JhagadiaJD (U)2827
Chaudhuri Shankarbhai LagdhirbhaiBanaskantha/VAVBJP47
Amit Anilchandra ShahAhmedabad/NaranpuraBJP27
Capt.Balbir Singh BathGurdaspur/SrihargobindpurSAD13
Nirmal Singh KahlonGurdaspur/FatehgarhSAD62
Kanwarjit SinghMuktsar/MuktsarINC11
Ramesh Pokhriyal NishankPohrigarhwal/ThalisainBJP31
Ganesh JoshiDehradun/RajpurBJP31
Gopal SinghUdhamsinghnagar/KhatimaINC31

Most of the cases against Gujarat MLAs are related to rioting. The charge against Gopal Singh of Uttarakhand is also related to communal disharmony. And most others have one thing in common- attempt to murder.

While Gujarat MLAs figuring in the table are sitting MLAs, interestingly, none of the MLAs of other states are sitting MLAs now...