25 per cent candidates in phase-2 assembly polls in West Bengal face criminal cases: ADR

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New Delhi, Mar 24 (PTI) Twenty-five per cent of the 171 candidates contesting in the phase-2 assembly elections in West Bengal have declared criminal cases against themselves, according to a report by poll rights group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

On educational qualification of the candidates, the ADR said 63 (37 per cent) candidates have declared their educational qualifications to be between 5th and 12th standard, while 101 (59 per cent) nominees have declared having an educational qualification of graduate or above.

Two candidates are diploma holders. Four candidates are just literate and one candidate is illiterate.

The West Bengal Election Watch and the Association for Democratic Reforms have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of the 171 candidates.

According to the report, 43 (25 per cent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves and 36 (21 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

Among the major parties, 17 (57 per cent) out of 30 candidates analysed from the BJP, eight (27 per cent) out of 30 candidates analysed from the Trinamool Congress, three (11 per cent) out of 28 candidates analysed from the SUCI(C), seven (47 per cent) out of 15 candidates analysed from the CPI(M), two (22 per cent) out of nine candidates analysed from the Congress, two (29 per cent) out of seven candidates analysed from the BSP, and one (50 per cent) out of two candidates analysed from the CPI have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

Among the major parties, the report said 16 (53 per cent) out of 30 candidates analysed from the BJP, five (17 per cent) out of 30 candidates analysed from the Trinamool Congress, two (7 per cent) out of 28 candidates analysed from the SUCI(C), six (40 per cent) out of 15 candidates analysed from the CPI(M), two (22 per cent) out of nine candidates analysed from the Congress and two (29 per cent) out of seven candidates analysed from the BSP have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

The report said 11 candidates have declared cases related to crime against women.

One candidate -- Manoranjan Patra of the CPI(M) from Taldangra constituency -- has declared case related to murder (IPC Section 302) against himself, the report said.

Six candidates have declared cases related to attempt to murder (IPC Section 307) against themselves.

Six (20 per cent) out of 30 constituencies in the phase-2 are 'red alert' constituencies, the report said, adding that red alert constituencies are those where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

The report said out of the 171 candidates, 26 (15 per cent) are crorepatis.

Among the major parties, 11 (37 per cent) out of 30 candidates analysed from the Trinamool Congress, 10 (33 per cent) out of 30 candidates analysed from the BJP, two (22 per cent) out of nine candidates analysed from the Congress and one candidate each from AIFB, Lok Samya Party and an Independent have declared assets valued more than Rs 1 crore.

The elections to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly will be conducted in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. PTI UZM SMN SMN