The New Indian Express

Twenty-five percent of 1,276 candidates contesting the Punjab assembly elections have declared criminal cases against themselves, according to a report prepared by the Punjab Election Watch.

PEW, an affiliate of the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), analysed the affidavits of 1,276 candidates out of the total 1,304 in the fray for the February 20 elections.

PEW said it could not analyse the affidavits of 28 candidates as they were either badly scanned or complete details were not uploaded on the website of the Election Commission of India.

As far as educational qualifications of candidates go, more than half of them have studied up to Class 12, the report said.

It was released by PEW state coordinator Jaskirat Singh.

According to the report, the average of assets owned by the candidates contesting the assembly polls is Rs 4.31 crore.

The corresponding figure for the 2017 assembly elections was Rs 3.49 crore.

Aam Aadmi Party candidate from the Mohali seat Kulwant Singh, a realtor, has declared the highest value of assets owned at Rs 238 crore, followed by Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal with Rs 202 crore and Congress candidate from Muktsar Karan Kaur Brar with Rs 155 crore, it said.

According to the report, out of 1,276 candidates analysed, 315 (25 per cent) have declared criminal cases against themselves.

In the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections, out of 1,145 candidates analysed, 100 (nine per cent) had declared criminal cases against themselves.

Of the 315 candidates with criminal cases, 218 have declared criminal cases of serious nature against themselves.

Among the major parties, 65 (68 per cent) out of 96 candidates analysed from the SAD, 58 (50 per cent) out of 117 candidates analysed from the AAP, and 27 (38 per cent) out of 71 candidates analysed from the BJP have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits, it said.

According to the report, 15 candidates have declared cases related to crimes against women, and out of them, two have declared cases related to rape.

A total of 226 candidates have declared assets more than Rs 5 crore, it said.

There were five candidates who have declared no assets, as per the report.

A total of 695 candidates have declared their educational qualification between Class 5 and 12, while 483 candidates are graduates or above.

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