In a first, the State Election Commission (SEC) will put up a banner displaying the the number of criminal cases registered against candidates outside each polling station in the city.

Earlier, only the names of the candidates, along with their respective symbols were displayed.

The decision comes in the wake of a recent report published by two non-government organisations, which found that 216 candidates contesting the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections have criminal cases registered against them.

The report was released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the Maharashtra Election Watch (MEW), who analysed the affidavits submitted to the SEC by 1,641 of the 2,275 candidates.

Out of 216 candidates who have cases, 154 candidates have serious criminal charges like assault, murder, kidnapping, rape against them.

Shiv Sena tops the list of parties that have fielded maximum candidates with criminal cases. Out of their 173 candidates, 28 are facing serious criminal charges.

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is second with 22 such candidates, while the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have fielded 16 candidates with criminal records. BJP has given ticket to 14 such candidates.

Sena candidate Rajendra Suryawanshi, contesting from ward 184, tops the list of candidates facing charges with 12 criminal cases. MNS candidate Ghanshyam Parab, who is contesting from ward 51, comes second with six cases.

Although the move is expected to bring in more transparency and help voters take a well informed decision, political observers say that it might not significantly impact the outcome of the elections.

The municipal corporation elections across the state, including for Mumbai and Thane, will be held on February 21 and results will be declared on February 23.

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