One in three of Modi's MPs faces criminal charges

One in three of Modi's MPs faces criminal charges
Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi has promised to clean up Indian politics of criminal elements, but faces a massive challenge as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) romped to victory with a large number of parliamentarians facing criminal charges.

Out of 282 BJP MPs in Parliament, 98 or a third of the group face criminal charges, according to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an election watchdog.

And of the 98, 63 face serious criminal cases ranging from murder to kidnapping to causing communal disharmony.

For instance, BJP parliamentarian Sakshi Maharaj from the populous state of Uttar Pradesh has eight cases pending against him and was briefly on the run last year after being accused of the murder of an associate.

Incoming BJP MP Rama-shankar Katheria has 21 criminal cases against him, including attempted murder.

"So far, political parties have shown no intention of doing anything about it in terms of giving tickets to those with criminal records," said Professor Jagdeep Chhokar, founder and trustee of the ADR.

"Modi has said in the next one year he will make sure there are no people with criminal records in Parliament. Either they will be exonorated or disbarred; we have to wait for a year to see what happens."

Other political parties do not have a clean sheet either, with eight out of 44 Congress parliamentarians facing criminal charges.

Congress' Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury from the eastern state of West Bengal has 16 criminal cases against him, ranging from murder to rioting.

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