Seventy percent of the Congress candidates in the upcoming 7 December Telangana assembly elections are facing criminal cases, the highest among major political parties.

The party also bears the ignominy of having 45%, or 37 of its 99 contestants, facing serious criminal cases like assault, murder and kidnapping, found a study by the Association for Democratic Reforms and Telangana Election Watch (TES) on scrutiny of all the candidate affidavits for this year and the previous (2014) elections.

The report, released on Monday, also showed that IT minister (and son of chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao) K. T. Rama Rao’s income shot up from Rs.7 crore to Rs.41 crore, an increase by 424% since 2014.

The candidate with the highest declared assets in the upcoming polls is former member of parliament and present member of legislative council Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy from the Congress.

Addressing a press conference, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu from the TES said among the major parties, the caretaker chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has 44 (37%) out of 119 candidates facing serious criminal charges and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 26 (22%) of 118 candidates who are facing serious criminal cases in the upcoming polls.

In total, of the 1,777 contestants, 21% face criminal cases, said the report. Of these, 192 (11%) candidates have assets valued at Rs.5 crore and above, while 120 (11%) have assets valued between Rs.1 crore and Rs.5 crore, and 25 % or 438 candidates have assets of Rs.1 crore and above.

Given the high number of high-value asset holders, the average assets per candidate in the Telangana assembly elections are about Rs.3.29 crore. Party-wise data also showed that the 86 (73%) candidates from the Bharatiya Janata Party, 79 (80%) of the 99 contesting candidates from the Congress and 107 (92%) of the candidates from the TRS have assets worth over Rs.1 crore.

The ADR and TES report also stated that 21 candidates are facing cases related to crimes against women and 24 face kidnapping charges. In the upcoming polls, a total of 112 candidates from the 2014 assembly elections are re-contesting and their average assets since then have increased from Rs.8.11 crore to Rs.12.78 crore.

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