A recent report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) sheds light on the post-election scenario in Madhya Pradesh, revealing that 39 percent of the newly elected Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) have declared criminal cases against themselves. Out of the 230-member House, 90 MLAs are implicated in criminal matters, a marginal decrease from the 2018 elections when 41 percent of the elected representatives faced criminal charges, as reported by PTI.
According to the ADR report, 34 of the recently elected legislators are confronting serious criminal charges, signaling a decline from the previous count of 47. Notably, Pritam Lodhi, elected on a BJP ticket from Pichhore in Shivpuri district, stands as the sole MLA facing charges of murder, while five others are dealing with charges of attempted murder. The report also highlights that three elected candidates have declared criminal cases related to women.
In terms of party-wise distribution, the BJP, which secured a sweeping victory with 163 seats, has 51 of its legislators facing criminal cases, with 16 of them involved in serious offences. On the other hand, the Congress, reduced to 66 seats from its 2018 tally of 114, has 38 MLAs with criminal cases, including 17 facing serious charges. The lone winning candidate from the Bharat Adivasi Party is also entangled in a criminal case.
Significantly, MP Congress chief Kamal Nath, elected from Chhindwara, has declared two cases of forgery and cheating against him in Bhopal and Indore. However, the report emphasizes that charges have not been framed by the court in both cases. Notably, no criminal cases are pending against Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was elected from Budhni.
The ADR report defines serious criminal cases based on various criteria, including offences with a maximum punishment of 5 years or more, non-bailable offences, electoral offences, crimes against women, and those specified in the Representation of the People Act and Prevention of Corruption Act.