Lucknow: For those worried about electing criminals into the posts of public representatives, the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections provide some solace: In the new 403-member house, lawmakers with criminal antecedents have gone down to 36.
In the 2012 elections, a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Election Watch says, 45 candidates with criminal cases against them had won.
However, money power continues to rule the roost as 80 per cent of the new MLAs are multi-millionaires, the report says.
The richest legislator, as per affidavits submitted to the Election Commission, is Shah Alam of BSP from Mubarakpur. He asserts amount to Rs 117 crore.
Political observers see the decline in the number of winners from among those wielding muscle power as a "good sign for politics and democracy".
Veteran journalist Rajiv Ranjan Jha says the decline in the number of MLAs with a criminal track record was certainly a "heartwarming feeling".
"For the last two decades, criminals have ruled the roost in the corridors of power. There have been efforts to minimise it, but such measures have so far failed," he added.
He said there seems to be some churning among the voters against such candidates.
The list of multi-millionaires includes Shah Alam (Bahujan Samaj Party), Rani Pakshalika Singh (Bharatiya Janata Party), Vinay Shankar (BSP), Gopal Nandi (BJP), Ajay Pratap Singh (BJP), Subhash Past (Samajwadi Party), Sahendra Singh (Rashtriya Lok Dal) and Om Kumar (BJP).
Of these, most have assets valued at over Rs 25 crore.