Phase one of the five-phase Bihar elections to be held from October 12 to November 5 has begun with a total of 586 candidates contesting for 49 seats and 1.35 crore voters ready to exercise their franchise. Some of the key candidates include HAM (S) state president Shakuni Chaudhary, who will contest from his old turf Tarapur in Munger, LJP MP Ram Chandra Paswan's son Prince Raj will fight with JD(U)'s Maheshwar Hazari for Samastipur's Kalyanpur constituency, Congress MLA Ajit Sharma from Bhagalpur will have to fight against BJP's Arijit Shashwat, son of former state minister and Buxar MP Ashwini Choubey and BJP MLA Surendra Mehta, who will contest in Begusarai.
A study conducted by the Bihar Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) analysed signed affidavits of all the standing candidates and have discovered that 174 have criminal and 130 have 'serious' criminal cases; including murder and crimes against women, against them. Thirty seven candidates have declared cases of attempt to murder. Ramswarup Yadav, an independent candidate from Hisua constituency, faces five charges related to attempt to murder. And nine candidates have cases related to kidnapping against them. Divided on the basis of political parties, the study says the highest percentage of candidates with 'serious' criminal cases is from the Congress.