Third phase of Bengal polls has its share of criminal candidates


Kolkata: As many as 54 out of 280 candidates contesting the third phase of the West Bengal assembly polls spread over 75 constituencies have criminal cases pending against them, a report by West Bengal Election Watch (WBEW), an NGO, said Thursday.

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The report has been prepared on the basis of the affidavits filed by the candidates before the Election commission (EC). WBEW analysed 280 candidates out of a total of 480 contesting in the third phase.

North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas as well as Kolkata will go to the hustings April 27 in the third phase of assembly elections.

Citing the report, WBEW state coordinator Biplab Halim told mediapersons here: “Of the 280 candidates analysed, 54 of them have criminal cases pending against them with 34 of them facing serious charges under the Indian Penal code (IPC).”

Giving a party-wise detail of the candidates facing criminal charges, he said: “All major parties have given tickets to candidates with criminal antecedents. The Trinamool Congress leads the pack with 29 out of 69 candidates analysed, while Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) comes next with 13 out of 75, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has 10 out of 61 while Congress and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) have one each.”

However, on the brighter side, the report reveals that for the first time in the current polls none of the 280 candidates analysed are illiterate. Of the 280, 89 are graduates, 39 professional graduates, with 52 post-graduates, 10 of whom possess doctorate degrees. The rest are school dropouts.

As per the report, majority of the candidates belong to the age group 41-50 years.

In the third phase, the number of women candidates contesting is just 33, with Trinamool having fielded 15 followed by the CPI-M with 9 women candidates.

The report further reveals that the state assembly met for only 239 days in the last five years with the average presence of the legislators from the above districts being 163 days. CPI-M’s Gautam Deb from Hasnabad constituency has the dubious distinction of attending the assembly for just 70 days.