News18» News»Politics»Bengal Polls: 91 Candidates with Criminal Cases, 78 of Them with Serious Charges, in First 2 Phases
4-MIN READ

Bengal Polls: 91 Candidates with Criminal Cases, 78 of Them with Serious Charges, in First 2 Phases

Representative Image

Representative Image

13 out of the 60 seats in the two phases are Red Alert Constituencies — where three or more contestants have declared criminal cases against themselves.

At least 362 candidates are fighting for 60 assembly constituencies in the first two phases of the West Bengal elections, and 91 of these contestants are facing criminal cases, including 78 who have declared serious criminal cases against themselves. Data analysed by the West Bengal Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) says that while 25.13 per cent candidates in the two phases have declared criminal charges, 21.54 per cent are facing serious criminal cases.

Election laws allow candidates accused of crimes to run, so long as they have not been convicted, on grounds both of fairness and because trials can take years to conclude.

Out of the 60 seats going to the polls in the first two phases, at least 13 (21.66 per cent) are Red Alert Constituencies — those where three or more contestants have declared criminal cases against themselves.

The first phase of the elections will be held in 30 constituencies with 191 candidates in the fray.

RELATED NEWS

“Out of 191 candidates analysed, 48 (25 per cent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves. At least 42 (22 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves,” the election watchdog said in one of its reports.

Going for party-wise candidates, the body said among the major parties, 10 (56 per cent) out of 18 contestants analysed from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)), 12 (41 per cent) out of 29 analysed from the BJP and 10 (35 per cent) out of 29 analysed from the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) have declared criminal charges against them in their affidavits.

“Two (33 per cent) out of six candidates analysed from INC, (Indian National Congress) three (11 per cent) out of 28 candidates analysed from SUCI(C) (Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist)) and one (nine per cent) out of 11 candidates analysed from BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits,” the report reads.

Nine (50 per cent) out of 18 candidates analysed from the CPI(M) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

From BJP, 11 (38 per cent) out of 29 candidates analysed have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

“Eight (28 per cent) out of 29 candidates analysed from AITC, one (17 per cent) out of six candidates analysed from INC, one (nine per cent) out of 11 candidates analysed from BSP and two (seven per cent) out of 28 candidates analysed from SUCI(C) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits,” it added.

At least 12 candidates have declared cases related to crimes against women, with one of these declared cases related to rape (IPC Section 376).

Eight candidates have declared cases related to murder (IPC Section 302) against themselves, while 19 candidates have declared cases related to attempt to murder (IPC Section 307) against themselves.

Seven (23 per cent) out of 30 constituencies are Red Alert Constituencies in phase one, the ADR said.

In phase two, 30 constituencies are going to the polls in which 171 candidates are in the fray.

“Out of 171 candidates analysed, 43 (25 per cent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves. 36 (21 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves,” the report said on phase two.

At least 17 (57 per cent) out of 30 candidates analysed from the BJP, eight (27%) out of 30 analysed from the AITC, and three (11%) out of 28 analysed from the SUCI(C) have declared criminal cases against themselves.

In addition, seven (47 per cent) out of 15 candidates analysed from the CPI(M), two (22 per cent) out of nine candidates analysed from the Congress, two (29 per cent) out of seven candidates analysed from the BSP and one (50 per cent) out of two candidates analysed from the CPI have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

“Among the major parties, 16 (53 per cent) out of 30 candidates analysed from BJP, five (17 per cent) out of 30 candidates analysed from AITC, two (seven per cent) out of 28 candidates analysed from SUCI(C), six (40 per cent) out of 15 candidates analysed from CPI(M), two (22 per cent) out of nine candidates analysed from INC and two (29 per cent) out of seven candidates analysed from BSP have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits,” the ADR said in its report for phase two.

While 11 candidates have declared cases related to crimes against women, Manoranjan Patra of the CPI(M) from the Taldangra constituency has declared a case related to murder.

Six candidates have declared cases related to attempt to murder(IPC Section 307) against themselves, the report said.

In a separate report, ADR and West Bengal Election Watch also analysed the criminal background details of 282 out of the 294 sitting MLAs based on the affidavits submitted prior to the 2016 assembly elections and by-elections conducted thereafter.

As of March 2021, 10 seats are vacant in the West Bengal assembly.

Two MLAs, Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar of AITC and Ali Imran Ramz of AIFB, were not analysed due to unclear affidavits available on the ECI website at the time of making the report, the body said.

“Out of 282 sitting MLAs analysed, 104 (37 per cent) MLAs have declared criminal cases against themselves. 90 (32 per cent) MLAs have declared serious criminal cases,” the body said.

At least seven MLAs have declared cases related to murder (IPC Section 302) and 24 MLAs have declared cases related to attempt to murder (IPC Section 307).

“10 MLAs have declared cases related to crime against women,” it added.

The report also said that 68 (33 per cent) out of 205 MLAs from AITC, 20 (51 per cent) out of 39 MLAs from INC, 11 (46 per cent) out of 24 MLAs from CPI(M), three (50 per cent) out of 6 MLAs from BJP and the lone CPI MLA have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

“61 (30 per cent) out of 205 MLAs from AITC, 15 (39 per cent) out of 39 MLAs from INC, 10 (42 per cent) out of 24 MLAs from CPI(M), and three (50 per cent) out of six MLAs from BJP have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits,” it said.

One independent MLA was also elected to the House and has declared serious criminal cases.

West Bengal, having a 294-member assembly, is going for polls in eight phases between March 27 and April 29. The counting of votes will be on May 2.

first published:March 26, 2021, 15:43 IST