Agartala: The number of
candidates contesting the Feb 14 polls who have criminal charges
filed against them has increased to eight percent, from three
percent in the last assembly elections in the state in 2008, a
report published Monday said.
Tripura Election Watch (TEW), state chapter of the non-profit
National Election Watch (NEW), also noted that six percent (16)
candidates are crorepatis (people whose wealth exceeds Rs.one
crore) this time, against two percent (7) in 2008.
The report said the number of women candidates is six percent (15)
this time, out of the total 249 candidates -- in 2008, women
comprised nine percent (31) of the total 313 candidates.
"Of the 16 crorepati candidates, 12 are from the Congress, there
are two independents and one each from CPI-M (Communist Party of
India-Marxist) and BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) who have declared
assets ranging from Rs.10 million (one crore) to Rs.90 million,"
NEW programme coordinator Mashqura Fareedi told reporters.
"There are criminal cases against 27 percent of the 48 Congress
candidates, followed by two percent of the 50 BJP contestants, and
two percent of 55 CPI-M contenders," Fareedi said.
"The increase rate of crorepati candidates and aspirants with
criminal charges in Tripura exceeds the national average," Fareedi
Of the 249 aspirants of different parties, 19 candidates (8
percent) have been charged with murder, rape, criminal conspiracy,
criminal intimidation, cheating, forgery and violation of the
Wildlife Protection Act.
Congress candidate Chandi Charan Tripura, contesting from Manu
assembly segment, reserved for tribals, in southern Tripura, has
cases registered against him under the Prevention of Corruption
According to the report, 94 of the 249 candidates (38 percent) are
graduates or have higher degrees, while 14 candidates have not
even completed schooling.
The report also said that 51 CPI-M candidates (93 percent) and 46
BJP nominees (92 percent) had never filed income tax returns.
There are 15 candidates of different political parties who are
more than 65 years of age in the fray this time.
The TEW, a platform of academics, journalists, social activities,
intellectuals, NGOs and retired officials, published the 51-page
report of the candidates' profile based on affidavits filed along
with their nomination papers.
Since December 2002, the NEW and ADR (Association of Democratic
Reforms) in association with other non-political bodies have been
publishing such candidate profile reports ahead of all state
assembly and Lok Sabha elections in India.
The group also published the financial position of candidates
contesting the polls.
"Following the Supreme Court judgments of May 2, 2002 and March
13, 2003, it is the citizen's fundamental right to know the
background of candidates before casting their valuable votes,"
said Biswendu Bhattacharjee, coordinator of ADR and TEW.
The ADR, a national body working for improving democracy and
governance in India since 1999, helped TEW compile the report.