Bhubaneswar: As many as 147 of the total 673 candidates in Odisha, who will try their luck in the first phase of assembly polls April 10, have criminal background, an election watchdog said Sunday.
Polling for the state`s 21 Lok Sabha and 147 assembly seats will be held simultaneously April 10 and 17. In the first phase, election will be held for 10 parliamentary constituencies and 70 assembly constituencies.
The Congress has fielded the highest 33 tainted candidates followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) with 23 and 13 candidates who have criminal background, Election Watch state coordinator Ranjan Mohanty told IANS.
There are at least 26 candidates who are facing serious charges like murder, attempt to murder and kidnapping.
Subal Sahu, a Congress candidate contesting from Bijepur constituency in Bargarh district, is an accused in a rape case. There are 16 candidates who have declared cases of crimes against women.
Election Watch based its information after scrutinising affidavits filed by the candidates with the Election Commission, Mohanty said.