Compared with the 2013 Tripura assembly polls, the number of candidates facing criminal charges in the February 18 polls have decreased by one per cent to 7 per cent, a report said here on Saturday.

The 62-page analytical report said that the number of women candidates is 8 per cent (24) this time, out of the total 297 candidates as against 6 and 9 per cent in 2013 and 2008 assembly polls, when the total number of candidates was 249 and 313 respectively.

According to report of the Tripura Election Watch (TEW), a state body of the National Election Watch (NEW), 12 per cent (35) candidates are crorepatis this time against 6 per cent (16) and two per cent (7) in 2013 and 2008 polls respectively.

“Of the 35 crorepati candidates, 18 are from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), nine from Congress, four from ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) who have declared their assets ranging from Rs 20 million to Rs 50 million,” NEW Tripura state coordinator Biswendu Bhattacharjee told the media here.

He said: “There are criminal cases against 22 per cent of 51 BJP candidates, 7 per cent of 59 Congress candidates and four per cent of the 57 CPI-M contestants.”

According to the report, 173 (58 per cent) of the 297 candidates are 5th and 12th Class pass while 121 (41 per cent) candidates are graduates or have higher degrees while one candidate never went to school.

In all, 140 candidates (47 per cent) of different political parties have declared their age in the affidavit, submitted with the nomination papers, between 25 and 50 years while 156 (53 per cent) candidates have declared their age between 51 and 80 years.

The TEW, a platform of academicians, journalists, social activities, intellectuals, NGOs and retired officials, published the 62-page report of the candidates’ profile based on affidavits filed along with their nomination papers.

Since December 2003, the TEW and NEW and ADR (Association of Democratic Reforms) in association with the other non-political bodies have been publishing such candidate profile reports before all state assembly and Lok Sabha elections in India.

“Following the Supreme Court judgment of May 2, 2002, and March 13, 2003, it is the citizens’ fundamental right to know the background of their candidates before they cast their valuable votes,” said Bhattacharjee, coordinator of ADR and TEW.

The ADR, a national body working for improving democracy and governance in India since 1999, helped TEW compile the report.


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