New Delhi

Thirty-five percent of the candidates in the second phase of Uttar Pradesh elections are embroiled in criminal cases, two groups said Friday.

The Association for Democratic Research (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) said the number of such contestants in the constituencies had risen since the 2007 election.

A total of 138 candidates or 41 percent of the 337 in the second phase were "crorepatis" -- a 22 percent increase from 2007.

Among the 118 candidates who have criminal cases registered against them is Mukhtar Ansari (Quami Ekta Dal), who has the maximum of 15 cases.

He is followed by Upendra (Samajwadi Party) and Javed Iqbal (Bahujan Samaj Party). They have 11 and five criminal cases against them respectively.

All major parties have given ticket to candidates with tainted background, ADR and NEW said.

The share of the Samajwadi Party in this category is 30 out of 59 candidates, BSP (23/59), Bharatiya Janata Party (20/55), Congress (19/59), Peace Party (8/35) and Janata Dal-United (12/50).

Over 50 percent of the offending candidates are battling charges of murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery and extortion.

Leading the list with 12 such candidates is Samajwadi Party followed by BSP and Congress (10 each), BJP (9), JD-U (7), Peace Party (3) and Quami Ekta Dal (2).

Assets of legislators contesting a second time have soared. BSP's Sarvesh Kumar Singh (Azamgarh) has Rs.8.81 crore in assets followed by Pramod of BSP (Deoria, Rs.4.51 crore) and Rajkumar of BSP (Ghazipur, Rs.4.38 crore).

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