Over 1,200 Candidates In Bihar Polls Declared Criminal Cases Against Themselves
Election officers count votes on Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) at a counting center in Uttar Pradesh. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Over 1,200 Candidates In Bihar Polls Declared Criminal Cases Against Themselves

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Over 1,200 candidates in the Bihar polls have declared criminal cases against themselves, with 115 of them accused in cases related to crimes against women and 73 candidates facing cases related to murder, according to a report by poll rights group Association for Democratic Reforms.

Out of the 3,722 Bihar assembly election candidates analysed, 1,201 (32%) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves, the report said.

In the 2015 Bihar assembly elections, out of 3,450 candidates analysed, 1,038 (30%) had declared criminal cases against themselves, it added.

The report further said 915 (25%) candidates have declared serious criminal cases while in the previous Bihar assembly polls in 2015, 796 (23%) candidates had declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

Serious criminal cases are non-bailable offences attracting over five years of imprisonment, the report said

About 115 candidates have declared cases related to crimes against women, of which 12 have declared cases related to rape (IPC Section- 376).

The report said "73 candidates have declared cases related to murder (IPC Section-302) against themselves and 278 candidates have declared cases related to attempt to murder (IPC Section-307) against themselves".

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The Bihar election is being held in three phases for a total of 243 seats -- the first phase for 71 seats was held on Oct. 28, the second phase for 94 seats is scheduled on Nov. 3 and the third phase for the remaining 78 seats will be on Nov. 7. The results will be announced on Nov. 10.

Out of all 3,722 candidates analysed, 349 are from national parties, 470 from state parties, 1,607 from registered unrecognised parties and 1,296 candidates are contesting independently.

Among the major parties, 98 (70%) out of 141 candidates analysed from RJD, 76 (70%) out of 109 candidates analysed from BJP, 45 (64%) out of 70 candidates analysed from Congress, 70 (52%) out of 135 candidates analysed from LJP, 56 (49 %) out of 115 candidates analysed from JD(U) and 29 (37%) out of 78 candidates analysed from BSP have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits, it said.

The report said 72 (51%) out of 141 candidates analysed from RJD, 55 (51%) out of 109 candidates analysed from BJP, 33 (47%) out of 70 candidates analysed from Congress, 55 (41%) out of 135 candidates analysed from LJP, 36 (31%) out of 115 candidates analysed from JD(U) and 23 (30%) out of 78 candidates analysed from BSP have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

It said 217 (89%) out of 243 constituencies are red alert constituencies, i.e. those where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member and trustee of ADR and National Election Watch, said all major parties contesting the ongoing Bihar Assembly elections have given tickets to 37% to 70% candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves.

"The Supreme Court in its directions had specifically instructed political parties to give reasons for such selection and why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates. As per these mandatory guidelines, the reasons for such selection has to be with reference to qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned," he said at the launch of the report.

Also read: As Bihar Votes, All The Key Stats You Need To Know

"Therefore, such unfounded and baseless reasons given by political parties like popularity of the person, does good social work, cases are politically motivated etc are not sound and cogent reasons for fielding candidates with tainted backgrounds. This data clearly shows that political parties have no interest in reforming the electoral system and our democracy will continue to suffer at the hands of lawbreakers who become lawmakers," he said.

Out of the 3,722 candidates, 1,231 are crorepatis.In the 2015 Bihar elections, out of 3,450 candidates, 860 (25 %) were crorepatis, the report further said.

Among the major parties, 94 (86%) out of 109 candidates analysed from BJP, 120 (85%) out of 141 candidates analysed from RJD, 96 (84%) out of 115 candidates analysed from JD(U), 99 (73%) out of 135 candidates analysed from LJP, 51 (73%) out of 70 candidates analysed from INC and 33 (42 %) out of 78 candidates from BSP have declared assets worth more than Rs. 1 crore, it said.

The average of assets per candidate contesting in the Bihar assembly elections 2020 is Rs 1.72 crore, the report said.

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