Business Standard

A total of 103 crorepatis and 147 candidates with criminal charges against them are contesting the first phase of 2014 in the state going to be held on April 10, according to a report by  Election Watch.

The report, which has been prepared with the help of Delhi-based civil society group Association for Democratic Reforms, was unveiled today. It has analysed the affidavits of 673 candidates who have filed nominations for the 70 constituencies of the state assembly for the first phase polls.

With 22 serious criminal cases including murder and attempt to murder charges, George Tirkey of Samata Kranti party tops the chart. He is followed by Ramesh Chandra Jena, the sitting Congress lawmaker from Sanakhemundi constituency with 11 cases and Basanta Kumar Bisoyi, the Congress candidate for Surada with 10 cases.

Out of 147 candidates with records of criminal cases, as many as 115 have admitted that they have been booked under serious charges including murder, rape, kidnapping and crimes against women.

As many as 26 candidates have declared in their affidavits that they have been booked in murder related cases. In his affidavit, sitting Congress MLA from Bijepur Subal Sahu has mentioned that he is facing a case charging him with rape. Four candidates have declared cases against them under the Prevention of Corruption Act while 16 others have mentioned that they face charges for crimes against women.

Party wise, Congress is at the top with 44 of its 70 candidates admitting that they face criminal charges. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) comes second with 26 of its candidates having criminal cases while 17 BJD nominees have declared criminal charges registered against them in their affidavits. Among others, four out of 43 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidates also have criminal charges.

Apart from candidates with criminal charges, 103 wealthy candidates are in the fray for the first phase of assembly polls, with two BJP leaders possessing maximum wealth among the aspirants, the report said.

While hotelier and BJP candidate for Rourkela seat Dillip Ray has been named the richest MLA candidate with an asset size of Rs 106.82 crore, BJP nominee Nitesh Gangdev from Deogarh constituency has declared assets worth Rs 17.65 crore. BJD leader and Kabisuryanagar MLA Sugnani Kumari Deo comes third with properties valued at Rs 13.82 crore.

Among high income candidates, Dillip Ray again tops the chart, followed by Chakradhar Paik, an independent candidate from Mohana seat who had an income of Rs 1.11 crore during 2012-13. Anang Uday Singhdeo of BJD with an income of Rs 50.50 lakh is the third among candidates with the highest income.

BJP tops the list for party wise crorepati list, with average asset of each of its candidates reaching Rs 2.57 crore. The average asset of a BJD candidate is Rs 1.86 crore while that of Congress is Rs 1.32 crore.In their declarations, eight candidates have said they have no assets and 104 candidates have declared assets less than Rs one lakh.

For the first phase, around 70 per cent candidates in the age group of 25 to 50 are contesting while remaining aspirants belong to the age group of 51 to 80. In educational qualification, a total of 265 candidates out of 673 analyzed are graduates or have higher degrees while 389 (or 58 per cent) candidates studied up to the secondary board level.In the first phase polls, only eight per cent of total candidates are women, the report said.

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