RANCHI: The trend of parties floating names of candidates with criminal charges against them continues even in the fifth and last phase of the assembly polls on December 20.

Out of the 208 candidates who are in fray in the fifth phase, 59 have declared criminal cases against themselves while filing affidavits, said a report released by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Shibu Soren's Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), with 11 of 16 candidates (or 69%) having criminal background, leads the pack.

JMM is followed by Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), with eight out of 15 candidates (or 53%) having criminal cases against them.

BJP, with seven of 15 tainted candidates, has pipped Congress, that has only four out of 11 nominees on the criminal list. Independents are also giving the national parties a tough competition with nine out of 65 candidates declaring criminal cases.

Even in the category of serious criminal cases, like murder, kidnapping and rape, JMM takes the lead with eight out of 16, which is 50% of the total candidates, facing serious felony charges.

In BJP, three out of 15 candidates have serious criminal cases against them while in Congress, it is two. two out of 11 candidates of INC, four out of 15 candidates of JVM (P) and seven out of 65 independents have serious criminal cases.

When asked why the party chose to field so many candidates with serious criminal charges against them, Supriyo Bhattachrya, general secretary of JMM, said, "Our leaders do have cases against them but they were filed as part of the movement started to make Jharkhand a separate state. These cases do come under the criminal procedure code and some candidates have fake allegations against them. But this does not mean that our candidates are criminals."

As many as five candidates have murder charges against them. They include Devendra Dehri of CPI(M) from Litipara constituency, Krishna Mahto of JVM(P) from Rajmahal constituency and Surya Narayan Hansda of JVM(P) from Borio constituency.Out of the 59 candidates who have criminal cases against them, 39 have declared to have serious criminal cases including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and crime against women. The criteria of serious criminal cases include offence for which maximum punishment is of 5 years or more, offence which is non-bailable, electoral offence, offence related to loss to exchequer, offences that are assault, murder, kidnap, rape related, offences that are mentioned in Representation of the People Act (Section8), offences under Prevention of Corruption Act and crimes against women.

Pitar Hembram of Revolutionary Socialist Party from Dumka constituency and Arbind Ramdas, independent candidate from Godda constituency.

As many as 11 candidates have cases of attempt to murder against them out of which one candidate each is from BJP, CPI(M), INC, JVM(P), LJP, Revolutionary Socialist Party, RJD, Samata Party and 3 candidates are independents.
Meanwhile, four candidates have declared cases related to crimes against women, three have cases of kidnapping against them, one has a case related to causing communal disharmony and one has a case of dacoity against him.

Out of the 16 constituencies 11 constituencies have at least 3 candidates with declared criminal cases. Mahagama Constituency has declared the most number of candidates with criminal cases with 7 candidates with declared criminal cases followed by Jamtara and Godda constituency with six candidates with criminal cases.

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