Shimla, Dec 13 (UNI) About 15 per cent candidates out of a total of 325 contesting Himachal Pradesh assembly elections have criminal cases registered against them, says a report of the HP Election Watch (HPEW).
Of these, 39 have been charged with wrongful restraint and confinement, 13 with cheating and forgery and another 15 with cases relating to criminal intimidation, says the report complied by HPEW and other NGOs.
It, however, says that none of these candidates, with the lone exception of a candidate from Nahan assembly constituency in Sirmaur district, were involved in any heinous crimes like murder, culpable homicide, rape or robbery.
The candidate from Nahan constituency has case of murder registered against him, besides forgery, criminal intimidation, unlawful assembly and death threats against him.
The report says Left Parties with 40 per cent and the BJP with 37 per cent have fielded the highest number of candidates with criminal cases registered against them.
Talking to reporters here about the report, HPEW's coordinator P R Ramesh said the case were of political nature and mainly include wrongful restraint, obstruction to public servants from performing their duties, breach of peace, disobedience and criminal intimidation.
The BJP's list includes the names of eight former ministers and legislators, while in contrast, the Congress has fielded only three candidates with criminal cases registered against them As far as the education of the candidates is concerned, the BJP has fielded 10 post-graduate candidates, 37 graduates, 16 matriculate, one non-matriculate and zero illiterate, it says.
In comparison, the Congress has eight post-graduate candidates only, but had the highest number of graduate candidates at 40.
It says that of the 325 candidates in fray in the election, the three main political parties of the Congress, the BJP and the BSP have fielded six candidates each, while the remaining are independents.
About 51 candidates in all have declared assets of more than Rs one crore with the Congress leading the pack.
Twenty seven candidates (40 per cent) of the Congress have assets more than Rs one crore, followed by 13 of the BJP (19 per cent) and the BSP with five candidates (7 per cent), it adds.