Punjab will see as many as 23 candidates who are facing serious criminal charges contesting the ongoing Lok Sabha polls as against 18 such candidates who had contested 2009 general elections.
Besides, 56 candidates out of total 253 contestants in fray have declared assets more than Rs 1 crore with BJP candidates possessing maximum average assets size of Rs 60 crore, as per analysis of candidates' affidavits carried out by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).
Assets size of eight candidates, who are recontesting Lok Sabha polls, grew in the range of 44 per cent to over 300 per cent as against their wealth in 2009 polls.
"Out of 253 candidates analysed in Punjab, 23 (9 percent) candidates have declared criminal cases pending against themselves. In 2009 polls, 18 (8 per cent) out of 215 candidates had declared criminal cases which were pending," DR founder member Jagdeep Chhokar said.
20 candidates have declared serious criminal cases including attempt to murder, criminal intimidation etc, he added.
Among political parties, out of 23 candidates with criminal cases, Congress, SAD (Amritsar) and CPI (ML) have fielded 1 candidate each in the Lok Sabha polls, the report said.
Chokkar informed that there were three candidates who are in fray in Punjab are facing charge of attempt to murder which includes Simarjeet Singh Bains (Independent from Ludhiana), Dharminder (Independent from Jalandhar) and Gurnam Singh (Independent from Khadoor Sahib).
There are four Lok Sabha constituencies including Ludhiana, Khadoor Sahib, Bathinda and Amritsar in Punjab where at least 3 candidates each have criminal background, said the report.
Out of 253 candidates contesting polls, SAD candidate from Fatehgarh Sahib Kulwant Singh, Congress nominee from Anandpur Sahib Ambika Soni and BJP candidate from Amritsar Arun Jaitley are top three candidates with highest assets worth Rs 139 crore, Rs 118 crore and Rs 113 crore respectively.
Out of 56 crorepati candidates, Congress has fielded 12, Aam Aaadmi Party (AAP) 8 and SAD 10 candidates whose assets were in excess of Rs 1 crore.