Of the 70 candidates in fray for the five Maharashtra legislative council biennial election scheduled on February 3, as many as 30 of them, which accounts for 43%, are crorepatis. What is disturbing is that 13 of them (19%) have criminal records. Out of these three candidates (4%) have serious criminal offences like murder, causing death by negligence, cheating, forgery registered against them.

The startling facts have come to fore during analysis of self-sworn affidavits of the 70 candidates who are contesting from three teachers constituencies and two graduates constituencies to be held in five revenue divisions on Friday. The analysis was done jointly by non-government watchdog bodies — Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Maharashtra Election Watch — as part of the voter awareness campaign.

Surprisingly these candidates are in fray for teachers and graduates constituencies where not only electorate but also candidates are expected to maintain a higher benchmarks than the other elections in the country.

The total number of candidates is 76, but ADR could not analyse background of six candidates due to some missing information and bad scans of affidavits uploaded on the official website of the election commission. Polls for teachers constituency is being held in Nagpur, Aurangabad and Konkan divisions while that for graduates seats are in Amravati and Nashik divisions.

Among the three candidates with serious crimes, one is from the Congress and two are independents. Those with other criminal cases include 10 independents, 1 each of the Congress, Shiv Sena and Bahujan Samaj Party. Interestingly, none from the ten candidates from other parties have any record of taint.

Analysis of financial background of the candidates once again emphasizes the known fact that money-power plays crucial role in every election in the country. This is because 30 of the 70 candidates were found to have declared owning wealth of a crore or more. Of them, eight are from major political parties.

What is astounding is that average assets per candidates is Rs1.84 crore. Two BJP candidates have declared assets of around Rs10 crore, two Congress nominees have Rs9 crore assets plus each while 2 of Bali Raja Party, have average assets of one crore plus and two Lok Bharti candidates own assets of Rs94 lakh plus.

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