25 per cent candidates contesting Bengal polls phase-1 declared criminal cases against themselves: ADR

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New Delhi, Mar 19 (PTI) Forty-eight of the 191 candidates contesting the first phase of assembly elections in West Bengal on March 27 or a little over 25 per cent have declared criminal cases against themselves, according to a report by poll rights group Association for Democratic Reforms.

On the education details of candidates, ADR said 96 (50 per cent) candidates have declared their educational qualifications to be between class 5 and 12 while 92 (48 per cent) candidates have declared to be graduates or above. Three candidates are diploma holders.

The West Bengal Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 191 candidates, who are contesting in the first phase.

According to their report, about 48 (25 per cent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves while 42 (22 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

Out of the 191 candidates, the report said 19 (10 per cent) are crorepatis.

Among the major parties, 10(56 per cent) out of 18 candidates analysed from CPI(M), 12(41 per cent) out of 29 candidates analysed from BJP, 10 (35 per cent) out of 29 candidates analysed from AITC, 2 (33 per cent) out of 6 candidates analysed from Congress, 3 (11 per cent) out of 28 candidates analysed from SUCI(C) and 1 (9 per cent) out of 11 candidates analysed from BSP have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

Nine (50 per cent) of 18 candidates analysed from CPI(M), 11(38 per cent) out of 29 candidates analysed from BJP, 8 (28 per cent) out of 29 candidates analysed from AITC, 1(17 per cent) out of 6 candidates analysed from Congress, 1(9 per cent) out of 11 candidates analysed from BSP and 2(7 per cent) out of 28 candidates analysed from SUCI(C) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

The report said 12 candidates have declared cases related to crime against women. Out of 12 candidates, 1 candidate has declared cases related to rape (IPC Section-376), eight candidates have declared cases related to murder (IPC Section-302) against themselves and 19 candidates have declared cases related to Attempt to murder (IPC Section-307) against themselves.

Seven (23 per cent) out of 30 constituencies are red alert constituencies by the report. Red alert constituencies are those where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

On financial status of the candidates, the report said among the major parties 9(31 per cent) out of 29 candidates analysed from AITC, 4(14 per cent) out of 29 candidates analysed from BJP, 2(11per cent) out of 18 candidates analysed from CPI(M), 2(33 per cent) out of 6 candidates analysed from Congress and 1-1 each candidates from SUCI(C) and BSP have declared assets valued more than Rs 1 crore.

'The average of assets per candidate contesting in the West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 Phase I is Rs 43.77 lakh,' the report said.

Among major parties, the report said the average assets per candidate for 29 AITC candidates analysed is Rs. 89.68 lakh, 29 BJP candidates analysed is Rs 85.28 lakh, 28 SUCI(C) candidates have average assets of Rs 21.56 lakh, 18 CPI(M) candidates have average assets of Rs 41.10 lakh, 11 BSP candidates have average assets of Rs 27.07 lakh and 6 Congress candidates have average assets worth Rs. 80.50 lakh.

The report also found that 53(28 per cent) candidates have declared their age to be between 25 and 40 years while 109 (57 per cent) candidates have declared their age to be between 41 and 60 years. There are 29 (15 per cent) candidates who have declared their age to be between 61 and 80 years.

Twenty one (11 per cent) woman candidates are contesting in the first phase.

The elections to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly will be conducted in eight phases with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. PTI UZM ZMN