KOLKATA: As high as 39 per cent of the candidates contesting in the upcoming two-part first phase Assembly election in West Bengal have criminal cases pending against them.
An analysis of their criminal records from their affidavits by West Bengal Election Watch, an NGO, show that 16 per cent of the total 133 candidates in the first part of the first phase election on April 4, have declared criminal cases pending against them.
Out of them, 17 candidates have serious criminal cases including cases related to murder, attempt to murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery, crimes against women, etc.
In the second part of the first phase on April 11, 163 candidates are contesting out of which 23 per cent (37 candidates) have criminal charges against them, the report said.
The report said that it was noticed with concern that across all parties there were candidates with criminal cases. In the five constituencies of Salboni, Purulia, Jamuria, Pandabeswar, Indus and Kulti have three or more candidates each with such questionable records.
The districts of Purulia, Bankura, Burdwan and West Midnapore are included in the first phase.
The average number of assets held by all candidates in the first phase are worth Rs 48 lakh. Out of 296 candidates, 23 (8 per cent) are 'crorepatis'.