Women accounted for a tenth of the candidates fielded for the fourth phase of elections. The Lok Sabha elections are being conducted in seven phases. The fourth phase is on Monday, April 29. This is the highest proportion of women candidates fielded so far this election.

Earlier phases had seen women candidates accounting for between 7-9 per cent of the total candidates in the fray. The data is based on a report by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms released on Wednesday.

Candidates with criminal cases also saw their numbers rise. They account for 23 per cent of the total candidates. This is higher than the 21 per cent seen in the previous phase. There are a total of 210 candidates with criminal cases in the fourth phase. The total number of women candidates is 96. This is based on 928 out of 943 candidates whose affidavits the report analysed. Some affidavits could not be included. Properly scanned and complete affidavits weren’t available for fifteen candidates according to the NGOs.

Five candidates have murder cases against them. A total of 24 have declared cases related to attempt to murder.

Twenty-one candidates have cases of crimes against women against them. This includes ‘assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty’ as well as ‘husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.’

Sixteen candidates also have hate speech cases against them.

Interestingly, candidates with assets of one crore rupees or more outnumber both women as well as those with criminal cases. There are over 300 such candidates in the latest phase. They account for around a third of all candidates (33 per cent).

They include Nakul Nath from Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh. He has assets of Rs.660 crore. Sanjay Sushil Bhosale of the Mumbai South Central constituency in Mahrashtra has assets of Rs.125 crore. Anurag Sharma from Uttar Pradesh Jhansi has assets of Rs.124 crore.

There are also candidates who have declared that they don’t have a single rupee to their name. These zero asset candidates include Priyanka Ramrao Shirole and Vitthal Natha Chavan from Nashik and Thane respectively in Maharashtra. Prem Lata Banshiwal of Rajasthan’s Tonk Sawai Madhopur constituency has also declared zero assets.

The report also provided a total figure of candidates across the four phases. Women accounted for eight per cent of candidates. Those with criminal cases accounted for 19 per cent. The biggest chunk remains those whose assets are at least Rs one crore. They account for 28 per cent of all candidates in the first four phases of elections. They had average assets of Rs.4.39 crore each.

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