Uttar Pradesh elections: Multi-millionaires outnumber criminals on ballot, but only just

Shehab Khan
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) waves during a roadshow in support of state assembly election party candidates in Varanasi: AFP/Getty Images

Uttar Pradesh is one of the most populated states in one of the most populated counties in the world. The upcoming assembly elections in the area have huge significance and with 403 legislators and 80 parliamentarians, Uttar Pradesh is a key battleground in Indian politics.

Yet despite the prestige of a place in the assembly, a new analysis of the candidates has shown there to be an extraordinarily diverse range of people, some with unorthodox backgrounds, standing in the upcoming election.

Of the 535 candidates who are participating in the final phase of the election, 528 have been analysed and there are 132 who are considered to be rupee multi-mllionaires and 115 who currently have criminal cases against them.

Those who are considered rich are referred to as “crorepatis”, which is someone who has a net-worth of more than 10 million Rupees (£120,000).

A total of 95 of the 115 who are currently being investigated for criminal offences face serious charges, including murder, attempted murder, and sexual assault, according to a report by Uttar Pradesh Election Watch.

Six candidates face charges of harassment of women and five have apparently admitted there are cases of kidnapping against them, according to the Hindustan Times.

The legislative assembly election in Uttar Pradesh is a precursor for the general election which is being held in 2019, and is one of five state polls taking place across India. Winning Uttar Pradesh would give Prime Minister Narendra Modi significant momentum, while losing could signal he faces a challenging re-election battle.

On the penultimate day of campaigning in Uttar Pradesh, Mr Modi addressed a rally in Varansi and Gadwaghat Ashram.

He has been in the state for the last three days and has spoken at 23 rallies during the election period. After winning the general election in 2014 by promising development, he made an appeal to the farmers in the area and promised to increase their income.

“The BJP government is working hard and we have a dream that by 2022, which is the 75th anniversary of our independence, every family would have its own house,” he said, according to the India Times.

“We also have a dream to double farm income by 2022.”

Mr Modi’s party won 71 of the 80 parliamentary seats in Uttar Pradesh at the last general election and will be hoping to secure at least half of the legislator seats in the election.

In the last legislative assembly election in 2012, Mr Modi’s party the BJP only secured 47 seats, a long way off the 202 needed to form a government.