From being founded on the plank of anti-corruption, to fielding the most corrupt candidates in a crucial state election, the Aam Aadmi Party sure has come a long way.
36 of the 70 AAP candidates in the upcoming Delhi polls have criminal cases against them, according to the report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). This accounts for 51 percent — a majority — of AAP candidates. In comparison, 17 out of 67 BJP candidates have criminal cases against them, which means that 25 percent of BJP candidates are similarly tainted. Also, 13 out of 66 of the Congress, 10 out of Bahujan Samaj Party’s total 66 candidates, and two out of Nationalist Congress Party’s total five candidates have declared criminal cases against them in their affidavits.
AAP’s tally of 51 percent candidates with criminal cases against them is more twice the overall average for the field — only 20 percent of the the 672 candidates contesting the Delhi polls have criminal cases against them.
AAP relying on candidates with criminal records is a bit of a departure from the principles on which the party was supposedly founded. Back in 2012, Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted his displeasure about candidates with criminal backgrounds being inducted in the then UP government.
He had also tweeted about the number of opposition candidates who had criminal charges against them.
Cut to eight years later, the Aam Aadmi Party isn’t only fielding candidates with criminal backgrounds, but it’s doing so in numbers that are more than double those of India’s traditional parties. AAP had come to power on the promise of cleaning up India’s political system — it now appears to be leading the pack in making it dirty.