The Times of India
Law Kumar Mishra

PATNA: Though their number is up from 6% in 2005 to 8% this time, still few women candidates are in the fray in 2010 Bihar polls. According to a National Election Watch (NEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms study, though parties talk about 33% representation to women in elected bodies, they are very conservative in giving them tickets. This despite the fact that the success rate of the women candidates has been better than their male counterparts, says NEW's coordinator Anjesh Kumar.

The report says 40% candidates in first four of the six phases of polls have criminal record. Of them, 21% have serious cases of murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and extortion pending against them. Major parties have given tickets to candidates facing criminal cases. At least 70% of BJP candidates fall in this category followed by LJP's 60%, RJD's 57%, JD-U's 53%, BSP's 38% and Congress' 37%.

In 14 out of 40 constituencies going to polls in phase III on October 28, there are three or more candidates each with pending criminal cases. "Voters in these constituencies will have little choice if they want to vote for honest and capable candidates," the report said. NEW also spotted errors in the affidavits filed by the candidates along with their nomination papers.

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