Guns and democracy in the Hindi hinterland: 70% NDA and INDIA candidates armed in UP, over 42% in Bihar

Many Lok Sabha polls candidates face criminal cases. The trends aren’t too different for the NDA and INDIA blocs.

WrittenBy:Suchak Patel
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In 1948, the Constituent Assembly had turned down a proposal seeking a fundamental right to bear arms. 

MV Kamath and Hasrat Mohani tried to push for this right while underlining personal liberty and the colonial history of gun control. Before the assembly had voted, BR Ambedkar pointed to a change in circumstances. After all, freedom fighters had demanded such rights in pre-Independence India because the British tried to have a monopoly on weapons with laws such as the arms act.

Fast forward to 2024. 

After decades of amendments, legislation and judgments on possession of arms, ownership of weapons has been heavily regulated for common citizens. But several legislators, despite being given state security, have been allowed to possess arms. And a look at India’s poll battlegrounds suggests the trend is here to stay. For example, in the current Lok Sabha polls, a significant number of candidates – fielded by major political alliances NDA and INDIA in the first six phases – are armed:  at least 70 percent in Uttar Pradesh, and at least 42 percent in Bihar. 

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