One fifth of the candidates, who will contest in the second phase on April 17, have criminal cases registered against them. This information was revealed by West Bengal Election Watch, a non-profit organisation.
The Trinamool Congress and BJP jointly have the maximum number of candidates with criminal cases, followed by the CPI(M) and Congress. In the 56 Assembly constituencies, the total number of candidates is 383 and of these 68 have criminal cases against them.
The second phase of elections will be held in Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Darjeeling, Malda and Birbhum. The BJP and Trinamool have 13 candidates with criminal records followed by the CPI(M) which has 11 and for the Congress the number of such candidates stands at six.
The presence of these candidates is leading to poll violence in the state, Election Watch coordinator Biplab Halim told reporters on Tuesday.
Of the total of 383 candidates, 56 have assets over Rs 1 crore. The Trinamool Congress has the maximum number of crorepati candidates at 23, followed by BJP at 10, Congress eight and CPI(M) one. The richest candidate is Trinamool’s Bhaichung Bhutia with total assets of Rs 17.41 crore. The candidate with the highest growth in wealth in the last five years is Trinamool’s Abu Naser Khan Chowdhury with total assets of Rs 3.93 crore. His wealth increased by 1,138% in the last five years.
“In 2011, when he contested as Congress candidate, he had declared assets of over Rs 29.77 lakh,” said Halim. Of the 383 candidates, only 33 are women.