The recent Bihar Assembly polls saw an increase in the number of candidates with criminal records elected, said a report in the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) released on Wednesday (November 11).

According to the report titled Election Watch, 168 or 68 per cent, of the 241 newly-elected candidates from all parties have declared criminal cases against their names this time, against only 142 (58 per cent) of 243 MLAs in 2015.

The ADR report says 123 or 51 per cent of the winning candidates have declared serious crimes against them, including murder charges against 19, attempted murder cases against 31 and cases of crime against women in the name of three.

While 327 of the 1,066 candidates who had contested in the first phase of the elections had declared criminal cases against their names, the number rose to 502 (of the 1463 candidates) in the second phase. Of the 502, 389 or 27 per cent reported cases of senior nature against their names. Election Watch which analysed 1,195 candidates of the 1204 running in the third phase, found 371 (31 per cent) had declared criminal cases and 282 had declared serious criminal cases against them.

Reports say despite the Election Commission of India’s directive to candidates and parties to publicise pending criminal cases through advertisements in a local and a national newspapers as well as social media platform of their parties, and explain why they are being fielded, the compliance has been low.

According to a report, the EC has served show cause notices to 100 such candidates who failed to comply with its directive.

Another report in the ADR on the Lok Sabha polls in the state talks about a similar trend. According to the report, almost 30 per cent (3,230) of the 10,785 candidates who have contested in the Lok Sabha or state Assembly elections since 2005, have declared criminal cases against themselves while 20 per cent or 2,204 candidates declared serious charges against their names.

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