RANCHI: Electors will decide the fate of 76 tainted candidates vying for votes across 17 assembly segments going to polls in the third phase of the state election on Tuesday. Of the 289 candidates in the fray, 56 have serious criminal charges against them and are undergoing trial at various courts in the state, according to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

The report by ADR, an NGO working for democratic reforms, says six out of 14 candidates of BJP, seven out of 16 JMM candidates, eight out of 15 candidates of JVM-P and three out of 13 Congress candidates have serious criminal cases against them. This apart, 10 independent candidates too are facing such charges and are being tried at different courts.

Congress state president Sukhdeo Bhagat said, "In public life, several motivated cases are lodged by the rivals of political leaders. The court is examining the cases. The people's court is the largest court on earth. They will decide their fate on Tuesday."

The report further says nine out of 14 BJP candidates, 10 out of 16 candidates of JMM, 10 out of 15 JVM-P candidates and six out of 13 Congress candidates and 14 independent ones have general criminal charges, which are under consideration at different courts.

The various charges against them include murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping or abduction in order to murder, assault or use of criminal force to outrage the modesty of a woman and communal disharmony, among others. Legal expert Rajiv Kumar said a maximum punishment of five years or more is awarded to those being tried for serious criminal charges.

ADR's state coordinator Sudhir Pal said his institution had appealed all political parties to avoid fielding candidates with a criminal past. "It seems that they have ignored the appeal," Pal said.

BJP state vice president Deepak Prakash said, "Our party is against the criminalization of politics. But unless someone is convicted, it is wrong to call him/her a criminal or deny him his rights to contest the polls."

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