Orissa Post

As many as 65 of 243 candidates remained in the fray for the first phase of Assembly elections in Odisha have criminal cases pending against them, according to a report of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

In the first phase, voting for 28 Assembly constituencies along with four Lok Sabha seats will be held May 13.

Out of 65 (27 per cent) candidates, who have declared criminal cases against themselves, 48 (20 per cent) are facing serious criminal charges, said the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) in its report released Monday.

Among the major parties, 18 BJP candidates, 17 Congress, nine BJD and three AAP have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

Out of the 243 candidates, including 32 females, 70 (29 per cent) are crorepatis.

While 13 candidates have assets worth more than Rs 5 crore, 25 others have declared assets of Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore, the report said.

With a total wealth of Rs 33.36 crore, Biplab Patro, BJD candidate for the Digapahandi Assembly segment in Ganjam district is the richest person in the fray for the first phase poll.

BJD nominee for the Gopalpur Assembly seat, Bikram Kumar Panda and BJP candidate for Dharamgarh, Sudhir Ranjan Pattjoshi are the second and third richest candidates in the race.

Panda has assets worth Rs 15.94 crore, while Pattjoshi owns properties worth Rs 12 crore.

Independent candidate for Bhawanipatna, Ramesh Kumar Mahanand and BSP candidate for Rayagada, Purna Chandra Majhi have declared that they have zero assets.

Informing about the educational qualifications of the candidates, the ADR report said 132 (54 per cent) candidates have declared their educational qualifications to be between 5th and 12th standard while 100 (41 per cent) candidates have an educational qualification of graduate or above.

Besides, seven candidates are diploma holders and four others are literate.

A total of 26 candidates in the race have declared their age to be between 61 to 80 years, and 73 candidates between 25 to 40 years, while 144 candidates are in the age group of 41 to 60 years.

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