A joint survey conducted by the West Bengal Election Watch and the Association for Democratic Reforms found that candidates with criminal records have 28 per cent chance of winning elections, while those with no such legal obligation hold 15 per cent chance of being triumphant. The survey — 'Analysis of criminal and financial background details of candidates and MPs and MLAs since 2004 in West Bengal' – took into account 6,163 candidates, including 1,081 MPs and MLAs, who have contested parliamentary or assembly elections from West Bengal since 2004.
Based on the affidavits submitted by the candidates prior to 2006, 2011 and 2016 assembly elections and the Lok Sabha polls held in 2004, 2014 and 2019, the two organisations carried out the survey and found out that 1,121 of the 6,163 candidates have criminal charges against them, and 833 others have serious criminal cases against them. Party-wise analysis suggested that 180 of 774 BJP candidates, who contested polls since 2004, have criminal cases. In the ruling TMC camp, 276 of 882 candidates have such litigations against them Similarly, 138 out of 393 Congress nominees, and 156 of 716 CPI(M) candidates were found to have criminal charges filed against them.
The survey further stated that 10 per cent of 6,163 candidates are women. Of the 623 female candidates in the state since 2010, 72 have criminal cases, and 44 serious criminal charges. As for male nominees, 789 have serious cases against them.
The study also noted found that the average assets of all candidates were Rs 1.16 crore. "Data analysis has revealed that money and muscle power have a huge bearing on the outcome of the election results," the report released on Tuesday stated.
The survey also found that the candidates who are graduate or have a higher degree have average assets of Rs 66.75 lakh, while high school pass outs and below have assets worth Rs 1.70 crore. Elections to the 294-member Assembly will be held in eight phases, beginning March 27.