Odisha Bytes
OB Bureau

As many as 65 of the 243 candidates for the Assembly elections to be held in Odisha in the first phase are facing criminal cases, a report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said.

Odisha Election Watch and ADR analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 243 candidates, out of which 65 (27%) have declared criminal cases against themselves, with 48 (20%) facing serious charges.

The criteria for serious criminal cases, according to ADR, includes offences for which maximum punishment is of 5 years or more and if an offence is non-bailable.

Out of the 28 Assembly seats going to polls in Phase-I, 12 (43%) are red alert constituencies.
These constituencies are the ones where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

Similarly, as many as 70 candidates (29%) out of total 243, contesting in the first phase of assembly polls in the state are crorepatis, the report said.

The average assets per candidate contesting was Rs 1.21 crore.

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has the highest average of Rs 4.49 crore. The richest candidate is Biplab Patro from the ruling party, with declared assets worth Rs 33 crore contesting from Digapahadi.

Two candidates, Ramesh Kumar Mahanand and Purna Chandra Majhi, meanwhile have declared zero assets.

The report also revealed that 32 (13%) of the total candidates contesting the phase I assembly polls are women. Among the candidates, 30% fall within the age bracket of 25 to 40 years, while 59% are aged between 41 to 60 years. Additionally, 11% of candidates are aged between 61 to 80 years.

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