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At a time when Election Commission is leaving no stone unturned to check use of money and muscle power in elections, as many as 77 candidates in Uttar Pradesh have a history of serious criminal charges against them. According to the data released by the National Election Watch, at least 77 out of the 617 candidates announced by various political parties carry criminal cases on them which include charges like murder, attempt to murder, abduction and dacoity. Moreover, 69 candidates are trying to contest the polls being lodged in different jails across the state, sources said. Bigwigs like Munna Bajrangi, Brijesh Singh, Ateeq Ahmad and Mukhtar Ansari will be once again trying their luck in the assembly elections. Prem Prakash Singh alias Munna Bajrangi, who is contesting on a Apna Dal ticket from Madiyahon constituency in Jaunpur district, is named in at least 10 murder cases including that of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai. He is currently lodged in Delhi's Tihar jail. While Bajrangi's supporters are bracing up for campaigning, another heavy weight Ateeq Ahmad is in fray from Allahabad, also on Apna Dal ticket. Similarly, independent MLA Mukhtar Ansari will be contesting from his own party Qaumi Ekta Dal. Anasri, who has several cases against him, joined BSP and contested Lok Sabha election in 2009, but was later expelled and lodged in jail. Another heavy weight Brijesh Singh, who is currently in Ahemdabad jail, is planning to contest from Saiyedraza seat in Chandauli district as Pragatisheel Manav Samaj Party candidate. Brijesh, who carries a cash reward of Rs five lakh, was arrested from Orrisa in 2008. SP MLA Vijay Mishra, who is behind the bars in connection with the attack on a minister in BSP government Nand Gopal Nandi, will be contesting again from Bhadohi district. Two persons, including a journalist, were killed in explosion near Nandi's house in Allahabad on July 2010. Kalawati Bind, who is contesting on Congress ticket from Jamania area in Ghazipur district, is currently lodged in jail in connection with arson and death of a policemen during attack on a police outpost in Jamania. The party has given ticket to Shailesh Kumar Singh from Ghazipur, who also is in jail under National Security Act and Gangster Act. PTI AVA PG AGL

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