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UP 4th phase: More crorepatis & criminals
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | April 20, 2007 21:14 IST
The fourth phase of the staggered Uttar Pradesh state assembly election on April 23 not only has a very high number of contestants with criminal antecedents but also has as many as 45 'crorepatis' in the fray.
Yet, however, as many as 735 of the 812 candidates in the fray for the 57 seats that go to polls in the next round of the seven-phased poll, did not have a PAN number.
According to a study carried out by Election Watch, an NGO that has been keeping track of the criminal and financial background of poll contestants, 'criminal cases were pending against as many as 118 contestants.'
"At least four contestants from each of the 57 constituencies going to poll in the fourth phase were facing criminal cases in courts," disclosed retired director general of police I C Dwivedi, the driving force behind Election Watch. He called for the need to issue a 'red alert' in each of these areas.
The ruling Samajwadi Party tops the list with 27 such candidates. Incidentally, the SP had the largest share of seats at the last assembly polls here in 2002, when it romped home on as many as 31 of these contestants.
Of Bhartiya Janata Party's 52 candidates, 16 were facing criminal cases, followed by Bahujan Samaj Party's 12 and Rashtriya Lok Dal's 6, besides those from smaller political outfits and independents.
The Congress party may not be in the main reckoning in most places but its nominee Ajay Pratap Singh from Colonelganj constituency was clearly the most affluent as per the details of assets filed by him for the fourth phase poll.
Other that form top ten 'crorepatis' list include Samar Singh of All India Forward Block (Rs 20 crore), Mohammad Tabis Khan of BSP (Rs 9.4 crore), Independent candidate Daya Shankar (Rs 6.6 crore), Sangram Singh of BSP (Rs 5.6 crore), Jai Pratap Singh of BJP (Rs 4.4 crore), Arun Veer Singh of SP (Rs 3.1 crore), Radhey Shyam of BSP (Rs 3 crore), Chaudhari Ravindra Pratap of Congress (Rs 2.7 crore) and Anil Singh of BSP (Rs 2.2 crore).Interestingly, there were 14 nominees who claimed to possess no assets at all.