A Third of West Bengal MLAs Face Criminal Charges; Trinamool Maximum

A look at how many members of legislative assembly elected in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam face criminal charges.

Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri.

Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri.


West Bengal has the highest number of MLAs (members of legislative assembly) with criminal charges (107) followed by Kerala with 87, according to data released by Association for Democratic Reforms, a New Delhi-based think tank.

West Bengal also has the highest number of winning candidates – 93 – with serious criminal charges against them.

Trinamool Congress, which won the elections in West Bengal, has 66 MLAs with criminal charges, more than any other party. Sixty Trinamool MLAs face serious criminal cases, which include murder, attempt to murder, rape, kidnapping and theft.


Assam has elected 14 candidates with a criminal record – 11% of the total assembly, the same proportion as 2011.

West Bengal and Kerala have seen an increase in the percentage of MLAs with criminal cases, from 32% to 37% and 42% to 62%, respectively, from 2011.

Tamil Nadu has seen a slightly lesser increase compared to West Bengal and Kerala. The percentage of candidates with criminal records in the state increased from 32% in 2011 to 34% in 2016.

In Assam, of 72 candidates facing criminal charges, 14 have been elected to the new assembly.

In Kerala, 87 of 311 candidates with criminal records have won the elections.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI (M), had more candidates charged with crimes – 72 – than any other party, followed by the BJP with 42.

The CPI(M) also had the highest number of candidates with serious criminal charges of any party at 26, followed by the BJP with 23.

Tamil Nadu was the only state where the ruling party had fewer candidates with a criminal record to be elected this time.

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) selected 47 candidates with criminal charges, and 28 were elected.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) selected 68 candidates with criminal charges, of which 42 were elected.

Source: Election Commission of India, Association for Democratic Reforms.

Source: Election Commission of India, Association for Democratic Reforms.

Criminal intimidation (making threatening calls) was the most prevalent crime reported; there were 172 such cases in West Bengal and the lowest number was four, in Kerala.

(Prachi Salve and Saumya Tewari are analysts with IndiaSpend.)

IndiaSpend.org is a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit.

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