New Delhi: A total of 288 candidates with criminal records will contest the polls on 23 April, the second phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha election.
According to the report on the second phase of election released on Monday by the National Election Watch, or NEW, an umbrella group of over 1200 non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, as many as 17.63% of the total 1,633 candidates in the fray have criminal records compared with 16% of 1,425 candidates in the first phase.
According to NEW, most of the major political parties have fielded candidates with criminal records, with top four parties being the Congress party (40), Bahujan Samaj Party (31), Bharatiya Janata Party (27) and Samajwadi Party (13).
Further, most states have candidates with criminal background contesting elections. Bihar is at the top with 60 such candidates (or 33%) followed by Maharashtra with 58 (18.91%), Uttar Pradesh with 39(21.43%) and Jharkhand with 34 (36.96%) such candidates. There are 356 charges of heinous nature on the candidates that include murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, extortion, etc.
Not only will this phase see more candidates with criminal records but it will also see richer candidates try their luck. There are 288 candidates with total assets of Rs1 crore (17.63%) compared with 193 in the first phase.