Six candidates facing cases contesting elections in Tripura

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Agartala, Feb 17 (UNI) Altogether six candidates including Congress leader Sudhir Ranjan Majumder and INPT general secretary Rabindra Debbarma -- in the fray for the Tripura Assembly elections on February 23 -- have criminal cases against them pending.

The Tripura Election Watch (TEW), a non-partisan civil society effort at creating accountable and transparent governance in the state, today released the analysis of the affidavits filed by the contestants here, which revealed that seven Congress candidates had declared assets worth more than Rs one crore.

The report said Mr Majumder, also former Tripura Chief Minister, was charged of criminal conspiracy, cheating and dishonesty, and forgery, while Mr Debbarma was charged with rape.

Besides, four Independents were charged with crime, including murder, criminal intimidation and violation of the Wildlife Protection Act.

TEW coordinator Pawan Rana told UNI here today that following the Supreme Court judgments of May 2, 2002 and March 13, 2003, disclosure of criminal records, financial and educational information had become mandatory to empower the voters and civil society to actively participate in improving the quality of polity and governance in the country.

He said the main objective of the TEW was to raise voter awareness based on information collected from affidavits to enable them to make an informed choice before casting their votes and in particular, the entire effort was directed to ensure that the political parties put up public service oriented, capable and honest candidates.

Mr Rana said the study revealed that only 16 candidates had mentioned their PAN, which included seven from Congress, five from CPM and one each from BJP, CPI (ML), RSP and one Independent and rest 297 (95 per cent) of the candidates either did not have PAN or were reluctant to mention it in their affidavits.

Among the major political parties, average declared assets of Congress candidates were worth Rs 85.72 lakh, CPM Rs 16.67 lakh and BJP Rs 7.17 Lakh. Five candidates, including two from the CPM, had declared liabilities more than Rs 10 lakh, the report stated.

Women had been given 10 per cent representation (31 candidates), significant in comparison to the national scenario and in comparison with other states (where it hardly touched 7-8 per cent), Mr Rana said, adding that amongst the national parties, the Congress, BJP and CPM had fielded 10.42, 10.20 and 8.77 per cent women candidates respectively. Amongst state parties, the LJP had fielded 25 and the AITC 23.81 per cent women candidates respectively.


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