|Indian rape, murder suspects join race for political office
Almost 10 percent of politicians contesting the first phase of India's election next month are charged with attempted murder, rape and other crimes, advocacy groups said.
Of the 64 candidates contesting the election in two states, six have declared in their affidavits filed with the election commission they face criminal cases including for cheating and dishonesty, the groups said.
The candidates are contesting seats in the remote northeast states of Assam and Tripura which head to the polls on April 7 in the first stage.
The six candidates are mostly from small, regional parties or are independents who have been charged but not convicted and are therefore still eligible to run.
The analysis of the affidavits is the latest from the Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch, two groups pushing for better governance.
Earlier this month, they said 37 percent of candidates from the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party announced so far nationally have criminal cases pending, and 25 percent from the ruling Congress party.
The ADR's Jagdeep Chhokar said plenty more politicians are expected to file similar affidavits.
“I expect the [total] national figures will be about 30 percent of candidates. I feel very queasy about these figures. Society deserves and wants higher standards,'' Chhokar told AFP.