Ranchi: The state's coal belt, which will go to polls in the fourth phase on December 14, has 80 candidates, the largest in the state, who have criminal charges, including murder and kidnapping, against them, said a report.

A report prepared by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an NGO working for democratic reforms, says among 80, 56 candidates have declared serious criminal cases, like murder, kidnapping and attempt to murder against themselves.

Five candidates are charged with murder, 26 attempt to murder and six with crime against women among them. The 56 candidates, if convicted, will face jail term up to five years.

Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) leads with 11 criminal candidates followed by BJP with nine of its 13 candidates facing criminal charges.

Congress follows BJP with seven of its 11 candidates facing criminal charges. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha is fourth among the main parties in fielding criminal candidates. 11 among 67 independent candidates are also facing criminal charges.

Congress's Dhanbad candidate and outgoing minister Mannan Mallick, Congress candidate Niraj Singh and JVM(P) candidate Yogendra Yadav for Jharia assembly constituency have declared murder cases against them.

Marxist Coordination Committee's Dumri candidate Mahavir Prasad and independent candidate from Jhaia Ajay Kumar Singh have also declared murder cases against them.

Three candidates of BJP, JVM(P) and Marxist Coordination, two from BSP, JMM and Congress and one from SP, Jharkhand Party and CPI (ML) and seven independents face charges of attempt to murder.

Congress Madhupur candidate and Marxist Coordination Dumri have kidnapping cases against them. ADR's state coordinator Sudhir Pal said despite his institution's appeal no political party has avoided fielding such candidates. "It will never help us realize the dream of a crime-free politics," Pal said.

Congress state president Sukhdeo Bhagat said those accused of a crime is not a criminal. "The cases are pending in the court," he said. JVM-P leader Santosh Singh echoed Bhagat. BJP state vice president Deepak Prakash said: "We have enough examples of accused being absolved of the charges they were facing. None of them are convicted."

The fourth phase of the assembly election will have the highest number of candidates with criminal background. In third phase there were 76 (17 assembly segment) criminal candidates, in phase two 60 (20 assembly segment) and in phase one (13 assembly segment) 55.

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