Of the 997 Jharkhand assembly election candidates, whose poll affidavits were examined by a civil society group, 321 (about 32 per cent) have criminal backgrounds. They are named accused in different sorts of criminal cases. Various criminal cases are pending against them either before police or judiciary in the state.
These 997 candidates are among total 1491 who are in the fray from all 81 constituencies. Polling in 65 constituencies already completed by December 12, while the remaining 16 constituencies will go to the polling in the last and fifth phase on December 18.
Of the 321 candidates, 155 (about 16 per cent of examined affidavits) are currently facing charges of serious crimes like committing murder, attempt to murder, rape, dacoity and abduction.
One of the candidates, seeking re-election from Palamu district, is facing shameful charge like buying a minor girl for purposes of prostitution under Section 373 of the Indian Penal Code, as per his self-declared statement in the poll affidavit.
A total of 71 candidates have declared that they possess assets worth over Rs one crore. The richest among 71 Crorepatis is the Congress nominee from Khunti assembly seat Roshan Kumar Surin, who have declared assets worth about Rs. 27.11 crore. Surin is followed by another Congress candidate Rameshwar Oraon (former union minister presently contesting assembly polls from Manika seat) who has declared assets worth about Rs. 14.13 crores.
These startling revelations came to fore after a civil society group comprising the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the National Election Watch (NEW), recently examined the affidavits of a total of 997 important candidates. The analysis report of the affidavits was released here on Saturday.
The report also revealed that all major political parties have given their party symbols to candidates having serious chargers of criminal acts like murder, attempt to murder, abduction and dacoity etc.
Former Chief Minister Sibu Soren-led Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has fielded its candidates from 77 seats. Of total 77 candidates, 49 (64 per cent) candidates have criminal cases pending against them. These candidates themselves have informed the respective returning officers (RO) about the cases in their mandatory affidavits.
Similarly, the Indian National Congress (INC) has 30 candidates, out of total 60 candidates, contesting elections with pending criminal cases. The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) has 27 candidates, out of total 66 candidates, contesting elections with pending criminal cases followed by All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) which has (25 out of 52) and the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) has 23 candidates out of total 56 with pending criminal charges.
Rail Minister Mamata Banerjee’s All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), too, is not far behind in giving party symbols to candidates having criminal background. The AITC has fielded a total of 38 candidates. Of them, 16 candidates (42 per cent) are facing criminal charges. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has 16, out of total 77, candidates with criminal charges, while Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha has fielded 14, out of total 24 candidates, with criminal charges.
Releasing the analysis report in Ranchi, the NEW’s Jharkhand Coordinator Sudhir Pal said, the main motive behind scrutiny of affidavits was to educate and inform electors about their candidates.