Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Apr 8 :
Twenty of the 98 candidates in the fray for the second phase polls for the 11 LS seats in Odisha have criminal cases pending against them.
This was revealed in a report prepared by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Odisha Election Watch (OEW) which was shared with the media on Tuesday. The report is based on the information filed by the candidates as part of their affidavits.
The report said out of the 20 candidates with a record of criminal cases, 12 have been charged with serious criminal offences including attempt to murder, intent to outrage the modesty of a woman, criminal intimidation and promoting communal disharmony.
Pratap Chandra Sarangi of the BJP from Balasore constituency leads the list with as many as 10 cases against him. Tathagata Satpathy of BJD from Dhenkanal constituency ranks second with 7 criminal cases, followed by Rudranarayan Pany of BJP from Dhenkanal constituency and Sangram Keshari Jena of the Congress (INC) from Bhadrak constituency who have 5 criminal cases each pending against them.
Gayadhar Mallick of Samata Kranti Dal from Jajpur constituency has been charged with attempt to murder under Section-307 of the IPC, while Jibesh Kishore Sundaray of Trinamool Congress (AITC) from Cuttack constituency has been slapped with a case of assault or use of criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty (IPC section-354).
The party wise break-up of candidates with criminal records, the report reveals 6 out of 11 candidates fielded by BJP, 2 out of 11 from Congress (INC), 1 out of 11 from BJD, 2 out of 11 from BSP and 1 out of 10 candidates of AAP have declared criminal cases against them in their affidavits.
The report says two out of 11 constituencies in Odisha such as Balasore and Dhenkanal which have at least 3 candidates with declared criminal cases have been categorised as ‘Red Alert’ constituencies.
On the educational qualifications of the candidates, the report says three out of the 98 have doctorate degrees.
Another important aspect that has come to the fore is that despite talking big on women empowerment political parties have not taken women seriously as possible contenders in the Lok Sabha polls.
The total number of women in the fray in the second phase Lok Sabha polls is a paltry 11. This is exposes the attitude of the parties towards women and also a sad commentary on their commitment for 33 per cent reservation of seats for women in the Parliament.