About 12 per cent of the candidates contesting in the fifth phase of elections are women, the highest so far, and five percentage points higher than the seven per cent representation seen in the first phase.
At the same time, there has been a fall in the proportion of candidates with criminal cases over the previous phase. There are also fewer candidates with assets of Rs one crore or more. But at 19 per cent, candidates with criminal cases are still higher than women candidates. Those with assets of Rs one crore or more account for 28 per cent. The data looked at 668 candidate affidavits. There are 674 contenders in all. Six did not have complete or properly scanned affidavits. They were excluded from the analysis conducted by non-governmental organisations the National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
The fifth phase, to be held on May 6, covers Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar among other states.
Jayant Sinha tops the list of candidates with the highest income. He is contesting from Hazaribagh in Jharkhand and has declared total income of Rs 5.72 crore. This includes the incomes of his spouse and dependents. The income is based on his tax returns.
His assets are worth Rs 77 crore, but they don’t make him the richest candidate. Poonam Shatrughan Sinha is the richest, with Rs 193 crore. She is contesting Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on a Samajwadi Party ticket. Vijay Kumar Mishra of Sitapur in UP is second with assets of Rs 177 crore. Jayant Sinha is third.
Meanwhile, there are three candidates who declared zero assets. They include Narayan Das Jatav from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan’s Guru Gokulchand Rashtarwadi and Munni from Uttar Pradesh. Jatav is from the Madhya Pradesh Jan Vikas Party. The other two are independent candidates.
Women are a minority even in the latest phase where the proportion of female candidates has risen. But data showed that political parties had put up candidates with crimes against women listed in their affidavits.
Nine contenders have cases related to crimes against women. This includes assault or criminal force with intent to outrage the modest of a woman, cruelty; and use of words, gestures or actions intended to insult the modesty of a woman.
“Among these nine candidates, two have declared cases related to rape (IPC Section 376) against themselves,” said the report.
Forty per cent of the candidates have twelfth standard education or lower. Fifty-two per cent are graduates and above, while six are illiterate.