The Times of India
New Delhi

NEW DELHI: About 17% of the nearly 1300 candidates who face the electoral test on Wednesday in the seventh phase of the general elections have criminal charges pending against them. The badlands of Bihar has the highest number of candidates—one in three candidates— facing criminal cases. 

According to Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 222 candidates have criminal cases while 139 or 11% of these have serious criminal cases including murder and kidnapping against them. ADR analyzed self- sworn affidavits of 1292 candidates out of 1295 contesting from 7 states and 2 UTs. 

Bihar (33%) is followed by Gujarat (20%), Andhra Pradesh (18%) and Uttar Pradesh with 16% of its candidates with criminal charges. Candidates with the most number of serious criminal charges include Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav of RJD from Bihar's Madhepura constituency with 24 criminal cases pending against him followed by Vasava Kishorbhai Chhotubhai of JD(U) from Surat constituency in Gujarat with 17 pending criminal cases and Swami Sachchidanand Hari Sakshi of BJP from Unnao constituency, UP with 8 criminal cases. 

Among political parties, Bihar's RJD dominates the hall of shame with the highest number of criminal candidates (83%) followed by Andhra's TRS at 41% and 38% by Samajwadi Party. There are 42 constituencies called the "red alert" constituencies that have at least three candidates with declared criminal cases against them. Bihar's Khagaria constituency has the highest number of seven candidates who have criminal cases against them. 

The average assets of contesting candidates are no small change either at Rs 3.77 crore. On an average Congress' 81 candidates are the wealthiest with assets of Rs 15.07 crore followed by BJP at Rs 11.19 crore. AAP's 68 candidates are not far behind with average assets of Rs 3.03 crore. 

The top three among the wealthiest candidates contesting the election in this phase are from Andhra Pradesh including Konda Vishweshwar Reddy from TRS at Rs 528 crore, TDP's Nama Nageswara Rao with Rs 338 crore and Congress' Gaddam Vivekanand at Rs 266 crore. 

Political heavyweights like Congress' Ambika Soni (Rs 118 crore), BJP's Arun Jaitley (Rs 113 crore) and SAD's Harsimrat Kaur Badal at Rs 108 crore are also among the top 10 crorepati candidates. Only 8% of the candidates are women.

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