More than a fifth of the candidates aspiring to be MLAs in Odisha have criminal cases pending against them. If the first phase elections -- 70 Assembly segments went to polls on April 10 -- saw 22 per cent candidates declaring criminal cases, about 25 per cent legislator aspirants in the second phase have similar records.
Analysis of affidavits submitted by the candidates reveals that 186 out of 744 candidates (747 is the total number of contestants in Phase II polls) have declared criminal cases against them. Odisha goes to the second phase polls on April 17.
Interestingly, more than half the contestants from the Congress have criminal cases against them. Of the 77 candidates in the fray, 39 have declared criminal cases in their affidavits. It is followed by the BJP. At least 44 per cent of candidates from the party have one criminal case or the other. The ruling BJD has 25 out of 77 (32 per cent) candidates who have declared criminal cases, while 14 per cent of Aam Admi Party candidates have indicated criminal cases in their affidavits.
The analysis by Odisha Election Watch (OEW) and Association of Democratic Reform says that at least 144 candidates have declared serious criminal cases, which include murder, rape, kidnapping and crimes against women. A party-wise analysis of serious criminal cases shows 42 per cent candidates of the Congress have declared serious criminal cases whereas for the BJD and BJP it stands at 22 per cent and 31 per cent respectively.
Interestingly, all nine AAP candidates who have declared criminal offences have at least one serious case against each of them.
According to OEW coordinator Ranjan Mohanty, at least 21 candidates have declared murder and attempt to murder related cases in their affidavits, while 20 candidates have declared cases of crimes against women. At least, 14 candidates have declared cases which pertain to assault or criminal force on woman with intent to outrage modesty. Three candidates have declared cases of cruelty, while one, Satyabrata Panda of the BJP, has declared a rape charge. While a quarter of the candidates have criminal cases pending against them, at least 19 per cent of the MLA aspirants in the second phase are crorepatis. Of the 744 candidates analysed by OEW, 141 are found to be crorepatis.