The last phase of election in Jharkhand on December 20 will be a litmus test for the political parties and security forces as well. The Election Commission is hopeful of peaceful polling for which the security forces are geared up.

The final phase comprises 16 Assembly constituencies in Santhal Pargana division which is said to be the new interest area of the Maoists.

Of the 208 candidates who are in fray in the fifth phase, 59 have declared criminal cases against themselves while filing affidavits, said a report released by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Shibu Soren’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), with 11 of 16 candidates having criminal background, leads the pack.

JMM is followed by Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), with eight out of 15 candidates having criminal cases against them.

The BJP, with seven of 15 tainted candidates, has pipped Congress, that has only four out of 11 nominees on the criminal list. Independents are also giving the national parties a tough competition with nine out of 65 candidates declaring criminal cases.

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