Sixty-eight per cent of the newly elected Bihar MLAs have pending criminal charges, with 51% of them having declared serious cases against themselves, including rape and murder, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

In its analysis of the election affidavits of 241 of the 243 winning candidates, the ADR found that the number of winners with criminal cases had increased from 142 or 58% of the total in 2015 to 163 or 68% in 2020. Winning candidates who had declared serious criminal cases, including murder, kidnapping and crimes against women, also increased to 123 or 51% from 98 or 40% in the 2015 Assembly polls. The affidavits of two of the winners were not available on the Election Commission’s site, the ADR said. Seventy-three per cent of the RJD and 64% of the BJP winning candidates had declared cases against themselves.

The Bihar polls were the first general elections to be held after the Supreme Court in February directed political parties to publish details of why they selected a candidate with criminal antecedents.

Over ₹1 crore assets

The ADR report also found that 81% of the newly elected MLAs had declared assets over ₹1 crore, an increase from 67% of the members elected in 2015. An analysis of the assets of the 96 re-elected MLAs found that their assets had grown by an average of 67% from 2015 to 2020.

The majority of winning candidates (52%) were between the ages of 51 and 80. Twenty-six women were elected to the Assembly. The report also said that 34% of the winning candidates had educational qualifications between Class V and XII and 62% had declared themselves to be graduates or above.

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