Bhubaneswar: Odisha Election Watch (OEW), an election watchdog, Friday claimed that more numbers of MLAs in Odisha have self declared criminal cases against them compared to the national average and urged the political parties to refrain from fielding tainted netas.
A study undertaken by OEW on the background of the sitting MLAs in the state, based on their affidavit filed before the Election Commission, 27 per cent of MLAs in the state have declared criminal cases against themselves, while the average national figure is 21 per cent.
The organisation claimed that they analysed the affidavits of 168 sitting MPs/MLAs from Odisha, including 21 MPs and 147 MLAs, of which 54 (32%) MPs/MLAs, have declared criminal cases against themselves. Among the 54 tainted MPs/MLAs, 41 (24%) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves, OEW said.
Ranjan Kumar Mohanty, Coordinator of OEW, urged the political parties to refrain from giving tickets to candidates having criminal cases pending against them in the upcoming in the wake of the upcoming general elections and Assembly elections. He also announced that OEW will launch an awareness drive in the state to make the people aware about election ethics and choosing a ‘clean’ candidate.
OEW, according to Mohanty, would soon launch a voters’ awareness programme titled ‘My vote, my country: My vote not for sale’ in collaboration with ADR to create larger awareness vis-à-vis electoral process, increasing voters’ participation, especially the youth and women, in forthcoming general elections and Assembly elections and also to promote ethical voting.
The campaign will be conducted in different villages and cities covering all the 30 districts of Odisha through mobile van using audio visual materials, folk media, street play, different cultural actions, posters, pamphlets, workshops and awareness meeting.