Voting Polling
[Representational Image] Several candidates in the West Bengal assembly polls 2016 and Assam assembly polls 2016 have criminal cases against them. Picture: The Election Commission of India announced the dates for the state elections, Friday, March 4, 2016.Creative Commons/UNDP in India

The slew of Assembly elections in the country will begin with polling in Assam and West Bengal April 4, and several candidates contesting in the first phase have criminal cases against them. In fact, one in every five candidates in West Bengal has a criminal case. 

In the first phase of the elections in Assam, 30 of the 539 candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves, according to a report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms. Most of them face serious criminal charges: At least 25 candidates have declared criminal cases against them pertaining to murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, and crimes against women.

The Congress party, which is seeking to beat the anti-incumbency wave and remain in power in Assam, has eight candidates with criminal cases contesting in the first phase, while the Bharatiya Janata Party, looking to register its first win in the Assam state elections, has three. The first phase of the Assam Assembly elections will be held April 4 in 65 constituencies, and the second phase will be held April 11 in 61 constituencies.

In West Bengal, 21 of the 133 candidates in the initial round of polling in the first phase have criminal cases, while the second round of polling under the first phase April 17 will have 37 candidates with criminal cases of the 163 contesting. Of these, 15 are from the BJP, 12 from the Trinamool Congress and eight from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which is seeking to make a return to power in the state.

This essentially means one in five candidates in the first phase of the West Bengal Assmebly polls has a criminal case. 

Apart from Assam and West Bengal, the other states going to polls in the coming weeks are Tamil Nadu and Kerala, along with the Union Territory of Puducherry. Polling will be held in these states in May 16 in a single phase. 

The results for all states will be declared May 21.