Rashmi Drolia, TNN | Nov 2, 2013,

RAIPUR: Candidates in Chhattisgarh are up for a challenging contest this poll season. Though they promise to provide safety to voters, there are a few, who are embroiled in criminal acts themselves. Six candidates contesting in the first phase are facing serious criminal charges, including murder, kidnapping, and crime against women, while nine contestants have other charges against them.

Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch study revealed that among the 143 contestants, who have declared self-sworn affidavits in 18 constituencies, 15 such candidates have criminal and serious criminal charges against them.

Party wise, two of the 18 candidates fielded by the Congress have criminal cases against them, while three of 18 contestants from BJP, two of 18 from Bahujan Samaj Party and one of five candidates from SP have criminal cases mentioned in their affidavits.

Mahesh Gagda of BJP in Bijapur constituency is the only candidate, who is facing charges of murder against him, while Madhu Maurya, aSamajwadi Party candidate in Bastar constituency faces charges of causing death by negligence.

Paras Lal Ganghel from BSP in Khairagarh in Rajnandgaon has one charge related to assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty and another related to wrongful restraint.

Others, who face similar charges are Raja Ram Todam contesting from Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh Swabhiman Manch, along with another charge related to acts by several people in furtherance of common intention. Similarly, Vikra Mandavi of Congress contesting from Bijapur, faces both the charges against him along with Manish Kumjan, a senior leader of Communist Party of India (CPI) contesting from Konta.

Another candidate, who has maximum number of charges against him, is Rajesh Gupta of Chhattisgarh Swabhiman Manch (CSM) contesting from Rajnandgaon is pitted against chief minister Raman Singh. The charges against him are related to kidnapping/ abducting with intent to secretly and wrongfully confine a person, for voluntarily causing hurt, for his involvement in obscene acts and songs, for rioting, for wrongful restraint, mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50 of which, he was convicted in two cases.

Charges of cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property and forgery of valuable security have been declared by Madhukar Banjare of Congress in Rajnandgaon, which includes using forged documents. Hemlal Markam of Gondwana Ganatantra Party in Kanker faces similar charges, including criminal intimidation and those mentioned above.

Defamation charges are being faced by three candidates, including Komal Janghel of BJP in Rajnandgaon, Girwar Janghel of Congress in Khairagarh and Arvind Kumar Nandeshwar of BSP in Rajnandgaon.

As per the data the constituencies with maximum registered criminal records is Rajnandgaon district. With a motive to provide transparency to the voters so that they choose the right candidate, their details are being made public, said a member of ADR.