Goa polls: Increase in number of contestants facing serious criminal charges
According to an analysis, 53 candidates (18%) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits ahead of the 2022 assembly polls
PANAJI: There has been an increase in the number of assembly poll contestants in Goa facing serious criminal charges, according to an analysis of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) based on the affidavits of the candidates contesting this month’s elections in the state.
The proportion of candidates with such cases doubled every five years from two in 2007 to four in 2012 and eight in 2017. In 2022, 18 contestants face serious criminal charges. Out of the 301 candidates, 77 (26%) face them. In 2017, out of 251 candidates, 38 (15%) faced such cases. “53 candidates (18%) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves (ahead of the 2022 polls),” the analysis said. It has declared 12 out of 40 (30%) constituencies as red alert seats.
Red alert constituencies are those where three or more contesting candidates face criminal cases. The proportion of red alert constituencies is among the highest in the country and more than even Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Independent candidate Chandrakant Shetye, a doctor who is contesting from the Bicholim constituency, is among the richest contestants with assets worth ₹59.63 crores. Congress’s Michael Lobo and his wife, Delilah, have declared assets worth ₹93 crore
Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) candidate Pravin Zantye, a cashew baron, has claimed to have no immovable assets. MGP president Pandurang Deepak Dhavalikar has said the value of his immovable assets has not changed since 2007.
The average assets of the candidates for the 2022 polls are worth ₹6.48 crores. In 2017, they were ₹4.75 crores. Among major parties, the average assets of 37 Congress contestants are ₹13.97 crores. Three Goa Forward Party candidates have average ₹13.09 crores assets and 40 ruling Bharatiya Janata Party ₹11.77 crores.
A PhD, Dinesh Zalmi of the Congress is among the most qualified candidates in the state.