Bihar polls saw 1197 candidates with criminal antecedents contesting

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New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) Out of a total of 1197 candidates with criminal antecedents who contested the recently-held Bihar assembly elections, 467 were fielded by recognised national and state parties, according to the Election Commission.

The remaining 730 were either fielded by registered but unrecognised parties or had contested the polls as independents.

A total of 3733 candidates including 371 women were in the fray in the three-phase elections, as per EC data.

According to data made available by the Election Commission here and the office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar, 156 cases were registered against 'organisers' of rallies and meetings of various leaders and candidates for violating COVID-19 norms.

Cases were registered against organisers as they had sought permission to hold rallies or meetings in which following health guidelines was mandatory, explained an official.

Ahead of the three phase elections, the poll panel had made it clear that violation of COVID-19 guidelines during election period would be deemed as a violation of section 144 of the CrPC.

The section of the Criminal Procedure Code allows local authorities to issue orders to prevent and address urgent cases of apprehended danger or nuisance.

Certain sections of the National Disaster Management Act and the Epidemic Act were also used.

The local authorities also relied on section 188 of the Indian Penal Code to deal with cases of violation of health guidelines.It deals with disobedience to follow orders issued by an authorised public servant.

Bihar assembly elections were the first full-fledged polls to be held amid coronavirus. Over 4 crore of the total over 7 crore voters exercised their franchise.

Following a Supreme Court direction in February this year, the Election Commission had in March asked political parties to justify why they chose candidates with criminal history to contest elections.

Assembly elections in Bihar were the first full-fledged polls where such details of their candidates were made public by parties. PTI NAB DV DV