BHUBANESWAR: The Election Commission (EC) has warned that candidates not mentioning their criminal records in the media during electioneering will have to face contempt of court proceeding. Additional Chief Electoral Officer Sachin Ramchandra Jadav said they are keeping track of the candidates with criminal antecedents to find out whether they are publishing their criminal records in media or not. “We will report to the Commission against those who have failed to mention their criminal record thrice between the period of filing nomination and campaigning,” Jadav said.
As many as 26 Lok Sabha and 191 Assembly candidates were in the fray for the first phase polls conducted in Berhampur, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Kalahandi Parliamentary constituencies and 28 Assembly segments in the State. The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report had stated that around 75 per cent of BJP candidates and 50 per cent of Congress candidates, who were in fray for the Phase-I Lok Sabha elections in the State, had criminal cases pending against them. The ADR report had also revealed that 16 out of 27 candidates from Congress, 11 of 28 from BJP, nine of 28 nominees from BJD and two of 22 BSP candidates contesting first phase Assembly polls had declared pending cases against them in their affidavits.
However, sources said, more than a dozen candidates with pending cases, who had contested the polls in the first phase, are yet to inform the district election officers about publication of their criminal records in media during electioneering as mandated by the Commission. The EC had implemented the move following a directive from the Supreme Court in this regard. As per the new provision, candidates contesting the General Elections have to advertise their criminal antecedents in TV channels and newspapers at least three times during electioneering.