Tanay Sukumar, Shuja Asrar, Manjul Paul

Indian voters are an unlucky lot. Clean candidates are hard to come by, and it’s not getting any easier, shows a Mint analysis of long-term election affidavits data. In the last 15 years, over 26% of the candidates of the top parties in state-level polls had declared criminal cases against them. Since 2018, this share has been one-in-three, with independent candidates and small parties being the only saving grace. 

If you are a voter looking for blotless options, you will be the most frustrated if you live in Kerala, Bihar or Jharkhand, while the Northeastern states give you the best options. But everywhere and in every poll, candidates facing criminal charges are more successful in reaching the state Assembly since they likely belong to larger parties that are more prone to vendetta-related bogus cases. 

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