Jharkhand polls: 23% candidates face criminal charges

Representative image. (Photo/iStock)

With just a week left for the first phase of the Jharkhand Assembly elections, campaigns by all political parties are in full swing. Jharkhand will go to the Assembly polls in five phases from Nov. 30 to Dec. 20. 

Nearly 189 candidates are contesting in the first phase of the Jharkhand Assembly elections where voters in 13 of the 81 Assembly seats will exercise their franchise. 

Forty-four (or 23%) of the 189 candidates who will be contesting in the first phase have criminal charges against them, according to affidavits analysed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). 

Among the major parties, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) - JVM(P) - has the highest number of candidates at six (or 46%) facing criminal charges. For the Congress, four (or 67%) out of six candidates analysed have criminal cases, while five (or 42%) out of 12 candidates of the JD(U) are facing criminal charges. For the BJP, four (or 33%) out of 12 candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves in affidavits.

Also read — Jharkhand Assembly Election: All you need to know

Among the 44 candidates with criminal cases, 26 (or 14%) are facing serious criminal charges. The Congress and the JVM(P) have three candidates each with serious criminal charges, while the JD(U) and the BJP have four such candidates each. 

Owing to the number of candidates with criminal cases, seven of the 13 constituencies for Jharkhand polling in the first phase are listed as red alert constituencies. Red alert constituencies are those where three or more contesting candidates have declared criminal cases against them.

Also read — Jharkhand Assembly Election: 5 phase polls from Nov 30

Voting in the first phase will take place in Chatra (SC), Gumla (ST), Bishunpur (ST), Lohardaga (ST), Manika (ST), Latehar (SC), Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chhatarpur (SC), Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawanathpur seats.

In the first phase of the Jharkhand Assembly polls, the key candidates are former BJP chief whip Radhakrishna Kishore, who is contesting from the Chhatarpur seat on the AJSU Party ticket, former minister and BJP candidate Bhanu Pratap Sahi from the Bhawanathpur constituency and JMM MLA Chamra Linda from the Bishunpur seat.

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