An analysis of election affidavits filed by candidates for the first phase of the Assembly elections in Bihar found that 31% of candidates in the fray have declared criminal cases against themselves, the Association for Democratic Reforms said.

The report released by ADR on Tuesday analysed 1,064 out of the 1,066 candidates in phase one of the elections and found 328 had declared pending criminal cases. Of their total candidates in phase one, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party had 73% and 72% of candidates respectively with criminal cases against them. Of all the candidates’ analysed, 23% had declared serious criminal cases against themselves, including rape, murder, assault and kidnapping.

The ADR report noted that the Supreme Court’s directions for political parties to publish the criminal antecedents of their candidates and provide explanations as to why they chose these candidates did not seem to have an impact on parties’ selection of candidates.“All major parties contesting in Bihar phase I elections have given tickets to 31% to 70% candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves,” it said.

The financial declarations of the candidates showed that 9% had assets over ₹5 crore, 12% had assets between ₹2 crore to ₹5 crore and 28% had assets worth ₹50 lakh to ₹ 2 crore. Out of the 1,064 candidates, 35% had assets over ₹1 crore. The RJD had the highest number of crorepati candidates, with 95% of its candidates having more than ₹1 crore in assets.

Forty-three per cent of the candidates had declared their educational qualifications as between Class 5 and Class 12 and 49% as graduate or above. Out of the total candidates, 11% are women.

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