As many as 163 candidates trying their luck in the election for ward councillors of the Patna municipal corporation (PMC) are ‘crorepatis’ and 88 are facing criminal cases, some of them as serious as murder and attempts to murder. 

These details were revealed in a study by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), in association with Bihar Election Watch (BEW), based on declarations made by the candidates. Of the total 1008 in the fray, only 866 have filed their nominations with proper details provided in the stipulated format.

“The campaigning for the municipal polls is no less aggressive and interesting than in case of the assembly polls. Even assets owned by the candidates and criminal charges faced by them are comparable with assembly elections,” said convener of BEW, Rajeev Kumar.  

The polling to elect councillors from 75 wards of PMC will be held on June 4 and results will be declared on June 9. The board will be reconstituted later this month after election of mayor and deputy mayor from among the elected councillors. 

Briefing the media about the candidates in the fray, Kumar said Madhu Chaurasia, who is contesting from ward number 2, is the richest with personal assets worth over Rs 15.83 crore. As many as 24 candidates have movable and immovable property valued over Rs 5 crore, while six candidates have declared no property at all. 

“As many as 88 candidates are facing criminal cases and 8% of all (numbering 66) have been accused in serious criminal cases. Eight of them are facing murder cases (section 302 of IPC) and 14 have been charged in cases related to attempt to murder (section 307). Altogether 16 candidates are facing cases related to atrocities on women, including bid to outrage modesty,” said Kumar. 

Statistics show that most of the candidates are in the age-group of 31 to 40, while 41 of them are aged between 21 and 24 years. As many as 293 candidates are in the age group of 31-40, and 270 in age group of 41-50. 

As far as educational qualification of the contestants is concerned, 38 possess post graduate degrees, 26 have professional degrees like MBA, BCA and engineering, while 173 are graduates. About 44% candidates are either literates or have passed intermediate examinations. As many as 227 contestants are barely literate, while 18 candidates are illiterate. 

Although the PMC’s elections are not contested on party symbols, it’s being viewed keenly by poll analysts because it would be the first major electoral exercise after massive victory of RJD-JD (U)-Congress Grand Alliance (GA) in the November 2015 Bihar assembly poll. 

The municipal elections are important in that they will provide an indication of the popular mood ahead of the 2019 general elections. Political activists aligned with different parties plunge into the electoral arena in their individual capacity and procure the support of the rank and file of their respective outfits. 

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