Tripura contenders have less criminal background: Report

February 18th, 2008 - 4:45 pm ICT by admin  

Agartala, Feb 18 (IANS) Compared to other parts of India, Tripura has just a handful of candidates contesting the Feb 23 elections against whom criminal cases are pending, said a report published Monday. Of the 313 aspirants of different parties, six candidates have been charged with murder, rape, criminal conspiracy, criminal intimidation, cheating, forgery and violation of the Wildlife Protection Act.

Tripura Election Watch (TEW), a platform of academicians, journalists, social activities, intellectuals, NGOs and retired officials, published a 14-page report of the candidates’ profile based on affidavits filed along with their nomination papers.

In all, 64 independents, including five women, are contesting the election to the 60-seated assembly.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a national body working for improving democracy and governance in India since 1999, helped TEW compile the report.

“Following the Supreme Court judgment of May 2, 2002 and March 13, 2003, it is the citizens fundamental right to know the background of candidates before casting their valuable votes,” said Pawan Rana, coordinator of ADR and TEW.

Since December 2002, the ADR in association with the other non-political bodies has been publishing such candidate profile reports before all state assembly and Lok Sabha elections in India. The group also published the financial position of candidates contesting the polls.

“Seven of the 313 aspirants have declared assets worth more than Rs.10 million and interestingly all of them are Congress nominees,” Rana said.

“When we lower the bottom line to assets worth more than Rs.5 million, the number of candidates increases to 16.”

“Encouragingly, women have been given nearly 10 percent representation (31 women aspirants out of 313 candidates). This is significant in comparison to the national average scenario and in comparison with other states, where it hardly touches seven to eight percent.”

According to the report, 31 percent candidates were graduates and above while a third of the candidates (102) have not even completed schooling.

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