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West Bengal Phase III and IV: 577 Candidates In Fray, 134 With Criminal Charges

Image for representation.  (PTI)

Image for representation. (PTI)

A total of 31 constituencies are going for polls in the third phase on April 6.

A total of 577 candidates are trying their luck for the 75 Assembly constituencies going for polls in the third and fourth phases of West Bengal polls, with 134 (23.22 percent) having declared criminal cases against themselves and 108 (18.71 percent) facing serious charges, the West Bengal Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms said in its reports.

The 294-member West Bengal Assembly is going for polls in eight phases between March 27 and April 29. A total of 31 constituencies are going for polls in the third phase on April 6. Eight (26 percent) out of 31 constituencies are ‘Red Alert Constituencies’, where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

The West Bengal Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all 205 candidates, who are contesting in the Phase III.

“Out of 205 candidates analysed, 53 (26 percent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves. 43 (21 percent) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves,” the report said.

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At least nine candidates have declared cases related to crime against women, it said adding that three candidates have declared cases related to murder (IPC Section-302) against themselves and 16 candidates have declared cases related to attempt to murder (IPC Section-307) against themselves.

Further, among the major parties, 19 (61 percent) out of 31 candidates analysed from BJP, eight (62 percent) out of 13 candidates analysed from CPI(M), three (43 percent) out of seven candidates analysed from INC, 11 (36 percent) out of 31 candidates analysed from AITC and two (11 percent) out of 18 candidates analysed from SUCI(C) have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits

Among these, 16 from BJP, five from CPI(M), 10 from AITC and two from SUCI(C) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

Similarly, the West Bengal Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 372 out of 373 candidates from 44 constituencies, who are contesting in the West Bengal Assembly Elections Phase IV, scheduled for April 10.

“One Independent candidate namely Bishnu Chowdhuri from Saptagram constituency has not been analysed due to incomplete affidavit available on the ECI website at the time of making this report,” the report for phase IV said.

The report said that in the fourth phase, there are 12 (27 percent) ‘Red Alert Constituencies’.

“Out of 372 candidates analysed, 81 (22 percent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.65 (17 percent) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves,” the report said, adding 19 candidates have declared cases related to crime against women.

Among those with criminal charges, four candidates have declared cases related to murder (IPC Section-302) against themselves and 16 candidates have declared cases related to attempt to murder (IPC Section-307) against themselves.

Party wise Candidates with Criminal Cases: Among the major parties, 27 (61 percent) out of 44 candidates analysed from BJP, 16 (73 percent) out of 22 candidates analysed from CPI(M), two (22 percent) out of nine candidates analysed from INC, 17 (39 percent) out of 44 candidates analysed from AITC and one (four percent) out of 26 candidates analysed from SUCI(C) have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

Among these, 24 from BJP, 10 from CPI(M), 17 from AITC and one from SUCI(C) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

In the first phase of the elections, held in 30 constituencies on March 27, 191 candidates were in the fray. Out of these, 48 (25 percent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves, including 42 (22 percent) with serious criminal cases against themselves.

Seven (23 per cent) out of 30 constituencies were ‘Red Alert Constituencies’ in phase one.

In the second phase, held in 30 constituencies on April 1, there were 171 candidates in the fray. Of these, 43 (25 percent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves, including 36 (21 percent) with serious criminal cases. In phase two, there were six ‘Red Alert Constituencies’.

In a separate report, ADR and West Bengal Election Watch also analysed the criminal background details of 282 out of 294 sitting MLAs based on the affidavit 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 report said.

“Out of 282 sitting MLAs analysed, 104 (37 percent) MLAs have declared criminal cases against themselves. 90 (32 percent) MLAs have declared serious criminal cases,” it 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.

Results for West Bengal polls will be declared on May 2.