New Delhi: Over 150 contestants for first phase of Bihar Assembly elections have criminal charges pending against them, a highest 20 of them from Congress.
According to data collected by Association of Democratic Reforms - National Election Watch, an umbrella body of over 1,200 NGOs countrywide, there are about 154 candidates who are facing criminal charges like dacoity, murder and extortion
There are three candidates -- one from BJP and two independents -- who have declared that they have pending charges related to rape against them, the data said. BJP candidate for Purnia constituency, Raj Kishore Kesri, has charges related to bribery and rape pending against him.
Mumtaz Ahmed and Manoj Paswan, independent candidates, have charges related to kidnapping, abducting, rape and dacoity pending against them, it claimed. The data was prepared after assessing affidavits of about 446 candidates who are in the fray for Assembly polls.
According to the report, BJP has given ticket to 14 people with criminal cases pending against them while BSP has chosen 17 such candidates, Janta Dal United and Rashtriya
Janta Dal 12 each and LJP 10, among others.
The ADR-NEW assessment has also pointed out 30 `red-alert` constituencies -- which has three or more candidates with pending criminal cases. These includes -- Chhatapur (nine candidates with pending criminal charges), Thakurganj (six), Araria (four) and Madhubani (three).
Out of the 446 candidates analysed, 36 candidates have declared assets worth more than Rs one crore. A highest of over Rs 20 crore of movable and immovable assets have been declared by Hira Prasad Mishra Khajauli of Janta Dal (Secular), contesting from Khajauli, followed by over Rs 15 crore and Rs four crore declared respectively by RJD candidates Dr Faiyaj Ahmad (Bisfi constituency) and Jagat Narayan Singh (Jhanjharpur seat), it said.
Dinesh Insan and Sikaandar Mandal, contesting from Kadwa and Manihari constituencies respectively on Congress ticket have declared "zero" assets. Nearly 300 candidates have also not declared their PAN card details, according to the data.
Out of the 446 candidates, 113 are graduates, 92 are class XII pass, 71 class X pass and 50 post-graduates. "We want to uproot corruption from politics. We want people to encourage contestants with clean records and discourage ones who have pending criminal case against them," said Anil Bairwal, National Coordinator, ADR-NEW.
A toll-free number 1800110440 will also work between Monday and Saturday to give information on contestants` financial, criminal and educational background, he said.
"We urge people to make an informative choice during the Assembly polls," Bairwal said. The six-phased Assembly elections in Bihar will begin from October 21.