Kolkata, May 2 (IANS) The next phase of the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal for six seats has 15 candidates with criminal cases and six crorepatis in the fray.
Of the 72 candidates, only 11 are women, 16 are graduates, 19 have post-graduate degrees, while one is an illiterate.
Compared to the past three phases of the polls in the state, this has the least number of crorepatis (multi-millionaires), but the most number of candidates with criminal antecedents.
On April 30, when polls were held for nine parliamentary constituencies, the field saw the most number of crorepatis - 17 - and 13 candidates with criminal cases.
The six seats that will go to vote May 7 are Jhargram, Medinipur (West Midnapore), Purulia, Bankura, Bishnupur (Bankura) and Asansol (Burdwan).
According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-political organisation aiming at electoral reforms, of the total 72 candidates in fray, 10 have against them serious criminal charges, including attempt to murder and criminal intimidation.
Of the 15 candidates with criminal cases, two each belong to the Congress and BJP while one each is from the CPI-M and the Trinamool Congress.
Purulia (six) and Jhargram (four) have the most number of candidates with criminal cases.
Of the six multi-millionaires, two each are from the BJP and Trinamool while one is from the Congress and the other an Independent.
Bollywood singer and BJP candidate Babul Supriyo contesting from Asansol in Burdwan district is the richest with assets worth over Rs.7 crore, followed by the Congress's Bimal Kumar Raj, contesting from Midnapore, who has assets of over Rs.6 crore.
On the flip side, Rampada Hansda of Amra Bangalee from Jhargram constituency has declared zero assets. However, he has not declared the value of his bank account which was opened for election purposes.
Socialist Unity Centre of India's's Rajib Mudi, also contesting from Jhargram, with just Rs.650 worth of assets, is the poorest.
Closely following him is Buro Murmu of Jharkhand Disom Party who is contesting from Asansol and has declared assets worth only Rs.1,000.
The average assets of the candidates contesting the May 7 polls has been evaluated to be Rs.44.88 lakh.
In the party-wise average assets, the BJP is leading with Rs.1.6 crore, followed by the Congress with Rs.1.33 crore.