The Week

Twenty-six out of the 223 candidates contesting the first phase of the Chhattisgarh assembly elections are facing criminal cases, and 16 of them have serious charges, including those related to voluntarily causing hurt and criminal intimidation, against them.

As per the report by the Chhattisgarh Election Watch and the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), out of the 223 candidates analysed, 26 (12 per cent) have declared criminal cases.

Twenty of the total 90 assembly seats will go to polls in the first phase of two-phased elections on November 7. The remaining 70 constituencies will vote on November 17.

Five (25 per cent) of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's 20 candidates are facing criminal cases, followed by the ruling Congress with two (10 per cent) of its 20 candidates, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with four (40 per cent) of 10 candidates and the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) with three (20 per cent) of 15 candidates, among others.

The report further stated that five (25 per cent) out of the 20 constituencies in the first phase of Chhattisgarh assembly elections will see three or more candidates with criminal cases - Kanker, Chitrakot, Khairagarh, Pandariya and Kawardha seats.

BJP candidates Vijay Sharma (Kawardha seat), Vikrant Singh (Khairagarh), Vinayak Goyal (Chitrakot-ST), Asharam Netam (Kanker-ST) and Soyam Mukka (Sukma-ST) have declared criminal cases, the report said.

Among others, Shankar Dhruwa (Kanker-ST) and Neelu (Neelkanth), Chandravanshi (Pandariya) of the Congress, the AAP's Narendra Bhavani (Jagdalpur), Komal Hupendi (Bhanupratappur), Bomdha Mandavi (Chitrakot) and Khagdraj Singh (Kawardha) and Ravi Chandravanshi (Pandariya), Lucky Mangal Netam (Khairagarh) and Sonsay Kashyap (Bastar) of the JCC (J) have declared criminal cases, it stated.

In the first phase, voting will take place at Konta, Bijapur, Dantewada, Chitrakot, Jagdalpur, Bastar, Narayanpur, Kondagaon, Keshkal, Kanker, Bhanupratappur, Antagarh, Mohla-Manpur, Khujji, Dongargaon, Rajnandgaon, Dongargarh, Khairagarh, Kawardha and Pandariya assembly constituencies.

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