The Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly elections are just round the corner, and all the contesting parties are campaigning in full swing. In the first phase of the polls scheduled for 12 November, there are 190 candidates in the fray for 18 constituencies, including Chief Minister Raman Singh. The ruling BJP had lost 12 of these 18 seats in the 2013 polls, but had won 49 seats of the 90 seats in the Assembly. The Congress won 39, the Bahujan Samaj Party one, and an Independent, one.
With about a week left for the first phase of the Chhattisgarh Assembly election — the second phase is scheduled for 20 November — let’s take a look at a profile of the MLAs who have governed Chhattisgarh for the past five years, as well as the functioning of the state’s 4th Legislative Assembly.
Of the 90 sitting MLAs in the Chhattisgarh Assembly, 14 legislators (16 percent) have declared criminal cases against themselves. Of these, seven (8 percent) declared serious criminal cases.
This was higher than the 11 of 85 MLAs (13 percent) who had declared criminal cases against them during the 2008 elections. Eight (9 percent) of them had declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
Serious criminal cases include offences for which the maximum punishment is of five years or more; a non-bailable offence, an electoral offence such as bribery, offences related to loss to the exchequer or assault, murder, kidnapping or rape, as well as offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and crimes against women.
Of the MLAs in the 4th Legislative Assembly of Chhattisgarh who declared criminal cases against themselves, eight (21 percent) were among the 39 Congress MLAs, and six (12 percent) were among the 49 BJP legislators. Of the seven MLAs who declared serious criminal cases in the poll affidavits, five (13 percent) were from the Congress and two (4 percent) were from the BJP.
The BSP and Independent candidates in the Assembly did not declare any criminal cases.
As many as 66 (73 percent) of the 90 MLAs in the Chhattisgarh Assembly are crorepatis, more than double the number of legislators (30) who had declared such assets in the last elections.
Of these 66, 34 MLAs (69 percent) are from the BJP and 30 (77 percent) are from the Congress. The Independent and only BSP candidate, too, declared assets valued more than Rs 1 crore.
Moreover, the average of assets per sitting MLA is Rs. 8.75 crore, far higher than the average assets of the 85 MLAs analysed before the 2008 elections,which was Rs 1.47 crore. The average assets of the 49 BJP legislators is Rs 2.15 crore and 39 Congress MLAs is Rs
Of the 90 Chhattisgarh Assembly legislators, 34 (38 percent) MLAs have declared their educational qualification to be between 5th pass and 12th pass, while 53 (59 percent) MLAs declared having an educational qualification of a graduate or above. Two MLAs had declared themselves as just literate.
Functioning of the Assembly:
The current Chhattisgarh Assembly sat for 145 days, lower than the 159 sitting days of the 3rd
Assembly (2009-2013). The House held discussions on no-confidence motions on three occasions — in 2015, 2017 and 2018 — which together lasted around 57 hours.
Between 2011 and 2016, the Chhattisgarh Assembly sat for an average of 36 days in a year, which is the 8th highest among the 26 state Assemblies that sat on average for 28 days in a year (from 2011 to 2016).
Of these 145 days, 98 days (68 percent) were budget session days. While the average duration of each Budget Session of the Chhattisgarh Assembly was 20 days, the average duration of non-budget sessions was much smaller — just four days.
Between 2014 and 2018, the highest number of bills introduced in the Chhattisgarh Assembly were in the fields of finance, revenue, and taxation (19), and higher and technical education (11). Among the principal bills introduced were the Chhattisgarh Aadhaar Bill, 2018 and the Chhattisgarh GST Bill, 2017, which was among the 15 bills that were passed the day they were introduced.
It was found that 94% of the bills passed were passed within a week of introduction, with limited discussion and scrutiny. Only six bills were passed more than a week after their introduction.
Data from the Association for Democratic Reforms and PRS Legislative Research
Updated Date: Nov 10, 2018 21:43 PM