The Samajwadi Party and the BJP have fielded almost equal percentages of candidates with "serious criminal cases" against them for the third phase of the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, according to a report.

While 21 of the 55 candidates (36.20 per cent) of the SP have declared serious criminal cases, the number of BJP contestants stood at 20 out of 55 (36.36 per cent), the UP Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report found.

Overall, 103 (17 per cent) candidates out of the 627 in the fray for the third phase of the assembly elections have declared serious criminal cases in which maximum punishment is five years or more and offences are non-bailable, according to the report.

Among other major political parties, 18 or (31 per cent) of the 59 BSP candidates, 10 (18 per cent) of the 56 Congress candidates and 11 (22 per cent) of the 49 AAP candidates have declared serious criminal cases in their affidavits, it noted.

Serious crimes also include cases like kidnapping, murder, crimes against women, corruption, and electoral offences, the poll reforms advocacy groups said.

UP Election Watch and ADR said they have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 623 candidates out of the 627 who are contesting the polls on February 20. The affidavits of the remaining four candidates were either badly scanned or incomplete, it added.

Another 135 (22 per cent) candidates have declared criminal cases against them, it stated.

Also, 11 candidates have declared cases related to crimes against women. Out of 11 candidates, two have declared cases related to rape (IPC Section 376), the report stated.

The phase three polls on February 20 will be held in 59 assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, spanning the 16 districts of Auriyya, Etah, Etawah, Farukkhabad, Firozabad, Hamirpur, Hathras, Jalaun, Jhansi, Kannauj, Kanpur Dehat, Kanpur Nagar, Kasganj, Lalitpur, Mahoba and Mainpuri.

The elections to the 403 assembly seats are being held in seven phases this time. The polls for the first two phases were held on February 10 and 14.

Election results will be announced on March 7. 

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