Photo source: Internet

Shimla, Oct 19
Ruling BJP’s, sitting MLA Balbir Verma is the wealthiest candidate in the state amongst those in the fray for the Vidhan sabha polls. Association for Democratic Reforms, an election watch dog stated in its first report released for ongoing assembly elections.
State convenor for ADR and National Election Watch Dr. O P Bhureta said that Himachal Pradesh Election Watch and ADR had analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 68 sitting MLAs in the Himachal Pradesh 2017 Assembly elections. Analysis state that 50 MLAs (74 PC) are Crorepati (Multimillioner), and an average MLA has assets of Rs 8.45 Cr.
He said that BJP MLA Anita Dhiman of Indora (Kangra district declared assets worth Rs 58 lakh, and Balvir Verma (Bitu Verma from Chopal declared total assets of 90 Cr. He said that ADR urged the Election Commission of India and Chief Electrol Officer of Himachal Pradesh Election Department to highlight the growth of assets in proportionate to the source of income while analysing the new self-sworn affidavits to be filled by the candidate and comparing it with the previous affidavit.
ADR found that 90 pc voters preferred an honest and sober candidate. The election watch found in the survey conducted among the voters that road and road connectivity is the top election issue, followed by water, Health, Education, Employment and livelihood and inflation figures as the seventh issue among the above.
Stressing the need for political literacy, ADR said that 20 per cent of people are not ably identified and know the name of their MLA.
ADR analysed criminal cases against 68 MLAs and found that 17 (37pc) BJP and Two (10pc) Congress MLAs declared criminal cases against them. A total of 19 (28%) MLA are with a criminal background, and eight (12%) with grave and serious crime cases. Six (13%) of BJP and two (10%) of Congress MLAs have grave criminal backgrounds. He said that election turnout would increase by two to three per cent during the upcoming assembly. ” It may increase from the present average turn out of 75pc to 77 to 78 pc,” they speculated.
Himachal Election Watch and ADR released report detailing criminal, education, gender and financial background of 68 sitting MLAs. ADR is also conducting an Electoral literacy campaign covering more than 50,000 households in 1500 Gram Panchayats ( GPs ) and urban areas.
Himachal Election Watch, Association for Democratic Reforms ( ADR ) and Himachal Gyan Vigyan Samiti is conducting an electoral literacy campaign given the elections to the 14th Legislative Assembly of Himachal Pradesh.
As per the Supreme Court directives, it is mandatory for political parties at the Central and State election level to upload on their website detailed information regarding candidates with pending criminal cases, including the nature of the offences, relevant particulars like whether charges have been framed, the concerned Court, the case number etc. The Supreme Court had also directed political parties to list reasons on their website, including their social media platforms, for nominating candidates with a criminal background within 72 hours of selecting such candidates. This information shall also be published in ( a ) One local vernacular newspaper and one national newspaper ; (b) On the official social media platforms of the political party, including Facebook & Twitter.
He said that during the literacy campaign, it was found that 45 pc respondent voters stated that voting in the election would not address their burning issues. ADR said that voting percentage would improve if Political parties and candidates would contest elections on the promise of public issues-oriented agenda.
The ADR said that the will of political parties and candidates is essential to increase turnout by highlighting popular issues during the election. He said that ADR also interviewed the First voters of the world’s largest democracy who promised to vote at the age of 106yrs. ADR has launched a campaign, ‘Mere vote Himachal Kai Liya’ with an appeal of Shyam Saran Negi, who voted for the first time in October 1951 for the first General Parliamentary Election.


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