Imphal, Feb 18 (IANS) More than 21 per cent of the 173 candidates contesting in the first phase of the Manipur Assembly elections have criminal cases and 16 per cent have serious criminal cases against them while 53 per cent are ‘crorepatis’ (millionaires). Twenty four candidates (14 per cent) have assets valued at Rs five crore and above, a report of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said on Friday.
The ADR released the report after analysing the self-sworn affidavits of all 173 candidates, and said 37 candidates (21 per cent) have declared criminal cases against themselves and 27 (16 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases against them.
According to the ADR analysis, among the major parties, 10 (26 per cent) of the 38 BJP candidates have serious criminal cases followed by five (18 per cent) of the 28 JD(U) candidates, four (11 per cent) of the 35 Congress candidates and two (seven per cent) of the 27 candidates belonging to the NPP have declared serious criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
The report said the directions of the Supreme Court have had no impact on the parties in the selection of candidates for the first phase of the Assembly elections as they continue giving tickets to nearly 21 per cent candidates with criminal cases.
Of the 173 candidates contesting in the first phase of elections on February 28, 91 (53 per cent) are crorepatis with 24 candidates (14 per cent) having assets valued at Rs five crore and above. The role of money power in the elections is evident from the fact that all major parties give tickets to wealthy candidates, the report added.
Among the major parties 21 (78 per cent) of the 27 candidates belonging to the NPP, 27 (71 per cent) of the 38 candidates from the BJP, 18 (51 per cent) of the 35 Congress candidates and 14 (50 per cent) of the 28 candidates put up by the JD(U) have declared assets valued at more than Rs one crore.
The average assets per candidate contesting in the first phase of the elections are Rs 2.51 crore. A NCP candidate, Ningthoujam Popilal Singh contesting from the Sekmai (SC) constituency, has declared zero assets in his affidavit.
The ADR report said 37 (21 per cent) candidates have declared their educational qualifications between classes 5 to 12 while 133 (77 per cent) candidates have declared having a graduate degree or above. There are three candidates who are diploma degree holders. Overall, 23 (13 per cent) candidates have declared their age to be between 25 to 40 years while 115 (66 per cent) candidates are between 41 to 60 years.
There are 33 (19 per cent) candidates who have declared their age to be between 61 to 80 years and two candidates have declared they are more than 80 years old. Of the 173 candidates contesting in the first phase of the Assembly elections, 15 (9 per cent) women candidates are in the electoral battle.
The elections to the 60-seat Manipur Assembly would be held in two phases on February 28 and March 5 and the counting of votes will take place on March 10.