Odisha Diary
Report by Priyabrata Nayak, Bhubaneswar:  Of the total 97 candidates trying their luck in the first phase of the up-coming Lok Sabha polls in the state, 19 have declared criminal cases pending against them. Out of these candidates 13 are facing serious charges including murder, attempt to murder, dacoit, kidnapping, criminal intimidation. This was announced in a media interaction in the state capital on Wednesday by a social outfit ‘Odisha Election Watch’.
The study was jointly conducted by Odisha Election Watch (OEW) in association with Association of Democratic Reforms basing on the self-sworn affidavits submitted by the Lok Sabha nominees.
While 98 candidates are in the fray the analysis is short of only a candidate and he is Das Charan Majhi, a nominee of Jharkhand Discom Party from Sundergarh Lok Sabha seat. Majhi’s affidavit could not be analyzed due to the unavailability of the same on the Election Commission of India’s official site, from where all other were downloaded, said Ranjan Mohanty, state coordinator of OEW.
 Aam Admi Party (AAP) candidate Narendra Mohanty contesting election from Kandhamal constituency has as many as 28 criminal cases registered against him. Mohanty facing the charges includes murder, attempt to murder and dacoity. Not only Mohanty 3 out of 8 AAP nominees have been facing serious criminal charges. AAP’s Mohanty followed by Lambodhar Kahanr, an independent candidate from the same constituency with 7 serious Indian penal Code (IPC) charges including two attempt to murder cases have been registered against him. Apart from it Sangita Kumari Singhdeo, contesting on BJP ticket from Bolangir Lok Sabha seat with 3 IPC counts pending in her name. Sangita is three time MP and wife of Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo, state BJP president.
BJP has topped the rank in terms distributing ticket to candidates with criminal charges with 4 out of 10 nominees for the first phase of poll. Similarly 2 of the 10 candidates fielded by ruling BJD, 1 of the 10 candidates of Congress party, 1 candidate each of Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) and CPI (M) respectively and 2 out of 17 independent candidates have declared criminal cases registered against them.

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