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Gujarat BJP fails to issue poll manifesto; Patidars top list of crorepati candidates, say civil rights groups

By Our Representative
Even as Gujarat goes to polls on December 9 for the first phase of the state assembly elections, a civil rights movement, calling itself non-political, has sharply criticized the BJP for not coming up with either election manifesto or a statement of promises it would fulfill over the next five years if it comes to power.
Talking with newspersons, former BJP chief minister Suresh Mehta said on Thursday, “This is a serious lapse. This is suggestive of the fact that BJP has recongised its failure in fulfilling the promises it had made in the last polls, 2012”, adding, “We are members of the Save Democracy Movement had forwarded our suggestions to be included in the respective manifestos of both BJP and Congress. Congress has accepted many of our suggestions.”
Meanwhile, an analysis of BJP and Congress candidates’ affidavits, submitted to the Election Commission, released by an NGO, claiming to work for democratic reforms, has found that criminal cases against BJP candidates fighting state assembly polls has gone down to 25% compared to 27% in 2012 polls, while those of the Congress has remained static at 32%.
Analysis of candidates of
second phase of polls
The analysis, however, has found that, as for “serious criminal cases”, the self-declared affidavits have revealed that these have remained static at 13% among BJP candidates, these have gone down among Congress candidates from 22% in 2012 polls to 12% this time.
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has analysed 175 BJP candidates’ affidavits for 2017 polls and 180 BJP candidates for 2012 polls. As for the Congress, it has analysed 174 affidavits of those fighting 2017 polls and 171 affidavits of those fighting 2012 polls.
“Serious criminal cases” relate to those that have declared cases related to rape and/or murder against themselves in their affidavits.
ADR’s analysis of the second phase of the polls, to take place on December 14, has interestingly revealed that among the list of top 10 candidates with highest assets, six belong to the Patidar community, known to have achieved maximum occupational diversification compared to any other community.
These are: Pankaj Patel (Congress, fighting from Daskroi, Ahmedabad district, Rs 231 crore), Siddharth Patel (Congress, fighting from Dabhoi, Vadodara district, Rs 73 crore), Dinesh Patel (BJP, fighting from Padra, Vadodara district, Rs 61 Crore), Raman Patel (BJP, fighting from Vijapur, Mehsana district, Rs 56 Crore), Shashikant Patel (Congress, fighting from Ghatlodia, Ahmedabad, Rs 54 Crore), and Jivabhai Patel (Congress, fighting from Mehsana proper, Rs 45 Crore).
Second phase of poll candidates
Involving an analysis of 88 Congress and 86 BJP candidates going to the polls in the second phase, the ADR says, two Congress and seven BJP candidates could not be analysed because as the affidavits of these candidates “were either badly scanned or the complete affidavits were not available on the EC website.”
An overall analysis of the crorepati candidates by ADR suggests that 66 (77%) out of 86 candidates from BJP, and 67 (76%) out of 88 candidates from Congress have assets worth more than Rs 1 crore.
The analysis further says, the average assets per candidate for 86 BJP candidates is Rs 7.80 crores and 88 INC candidates is Rs 9.80 crores.
The analysis has a disclaimer at the end of the report, that ADR “does not add or subtract any information, unless the EC changes the data. In particular, no unverified information from any other source is used.”

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