LUCKNOW: The seventh and last phase of ongoing Lok Sabha elections will not only be known for voting in VIP constituencies Varanasi and Gorakhpur, but also for the dubious distinction of highest number of candidates with criminal background being in fray than in previous six phases.
The report of Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) states that as many as 26% candidates in fray in the last phase have criminal cases pending against them. This is three per cent more than the average for all seven phases taken together — 23%.

ADR analysed the affidavits of 164 of total 167 candidates in fray in last phase and found that 43 of them have declared that criminal cases are pending against them. The third phase was the cleanest of all, with only 24 out of 120 candidates, or 20%, having criminal background.
Among the 43 candidates, maximum 6 are from Congress, followed by 5 each from BJP and SP. Of the 29 independent candidates, five had criminal cases. In percentage terms, Congress topped the chart among national and state parties with 67% candidates having criminal antecendents, followed by SP with 63%, BSP with 50% and BJP 46%.
The criminal charges range from robbery to dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt to illegal payments in connection with an election, charges related to punishment for rioting, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace to obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions.
ADR also looked for crorepati candidates and found that all BJP and Congress candidates are crorepatis, followed by 88% candidates of SP and 75% of BSP being worth crores and the average assets of all candidates being Rs 2.13 crore.
BJP candidate Pankaj Choudhary from Maharajganj tops the chart having assets worth more than Rs 37 crore, followed by RPN Singh of Congress worth Rs 29 crore.
On the other side, Umesh Chandra Katiyar of Al-Hind Party contesting from Varanasi was found to have assets worth Rs 13,000 only.

BJP candidates top the chart with average assets of Rs 9 crore, followed by BSP at Rs 8 crore, Congress at Rs 6 crore and SP with Rs 3 crore.
Of the 164 candidates analysed, 38 are graduate, 36 postgraduate and seven hold a doctoral degree while one is illiterate. The ADR study of candidates’ age revealed that 45 are in the 41-50 age bracket, followed by 41 in the 31-40 range, nine in the 25-30 age group and three between 71-80 years.

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