Bengal Phase II: A quarter of all candidates face criminal cases

Phase II of the election will see 26 crorepatis (15 per cent) vie for seats in the assembly, report says

PIL, Public Interest Litigation, Supreme Court, political parties, field candidates, criminal charges
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The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-partisan NGO that works in the area of electoral and political reforms, last week released an analysis of the self-sworn affidavits of all 171 candidates who are contesting in Phase II of the West Bengal assembly election.

The report said out of the 171 candidates, 43 – 25 per cent – are facing criminal cases. Thirty-six candidates – 21 per cent – have declared serious criminal cases against them.

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 Trinamool Congress, and seven (47 per cent) out of 15 candidates analysed from CPI-M have criminal cases against them.

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Sixteen (53 per cent) out of 30 candidates analysed from the BJP, five (17 per cent) out of 30 candidates analysed from the Trinamool, and six (40 per cent) out of 15 candidates analysed from the CPI-M face serious criminal cases. One candidate, Manoranjan Patra of the CPI-M, is accused of murder.

There are six so-called ‘Red Alert Constituencies’, where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves. They are: Panskura Purba, Panskura Paschim, Gosaba, Narayangarh, Taldangra and Nandigram.

“The directions of the Supreme Court have had no effect on the political parties in selection of candidates in Phase II of the West Bengal assembly elections, as they have again followed their old practice of giving tickets to around 25 per cent candidates with criminal cases,” ADR said in its report.

Crorepati Candidates

Phase II will see 26 crorepatis (15 per cent) vie for seats in the assembly, the report said.

Among the major parties 11 (37 per cent) out of 30 Trinamool candidates analysed, 10 (33 per cent) out of 30 candidates analysed from the BJP, and two (22 per cent) out of nine candidates analysed from the Congress have assets valued at 1 crore or more.

The average of assets per candidate is 92.66 lakh, the report said.

The average asset of a BJP candidate is 2.31 crore, followed by Trinamool (1.79 crore) and Congress (1.22 crore), the ADR said.

Out of the top 10 richest candidates, five are from the BJP, four from the Triamool and one from the Congress.

The BJP’s Bharati Ghosh is the richest candidate, with assets of more than 19 crores. The party’s Dipankar Jana (14 crores) is second.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is worth 16.72 lakh, with zero immovable assets to her name.

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