Nearly one-third of the total candidates contesting the final phase of Bihar elections on November 7 face serious criminal charges, including rape, murder and extortion, as per a research conducted by the Bihar Election Watch (BEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
The highest share of candidates with criminal charges is from BJP and Congress (76 percent each), followed by RJD (73 percent), JD(U) (57 percent) and LJP (43 percent).
The data includes criminal cases declared by 1,195 candidates out of 1,204 contesting in 78 seats for the third phase of elections in Bihar. According to the study, 31 percent or 371 candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
Further, 282 candidates or nearly 24% have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
Most of the mainstream parties have offered 50 percent tickets to candidates with serious criminal cases registered against them. Of all the major parties, the BJP has fielded 34 candidates, JD(U) 37, RJD (44), Congress (25) and LJP (42) candidates in this phase.
Almost every second candidate of prominent parties - BJP, Congress and RJD - have criminal records, the research revealed. On average, two in every five candidates of major political parties have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
"Two-third BJP candidates have declared serious criminal charges against themselves, followed by 56 per cent of Congress and half of RJD. The JD(U) has given 30 per cent tickets to tainted candidates and LJP to 26 per cent," the report found.
"This data clearly shows that political parties have no interest in reforming the electoral system and our democracy will continue to suffer at the hands of lawbreakers who become lawmakers," the report said.
The report also highlights how some political parties have offered tickets to candidates with deep pockets. Over 90 percent BJP candidates contesting the third phase are 'crorepatis', followed by JD(U) (81 percent), RJD (80 percent), LJP (74 percent) and Congress (68 percent).