The fourth phase of the 2019 general elections will see the highest youth representation as of yet, with 9.59% of the candidates between the age of 25 and 30 years.
With only 72 constituencies going to polls, this will be one of the smallest phases out of the seven phases of the world's largest elections, but will see some of the biggest electoral battles.
The number of red alert constituencies - where at least 3 candidates have self-declared criminal cases - is at 31, which makes it the highest in terms of percentage, compared to the past three phases.
BOOM utilised the report by Association for Democratic Reforms on the self-sworn affidavits by 928 out of 943 candidates, to gain insights into their demographics.
Phase 4 candidates also stands out as the most educated, with almost 50% having at least a graduate degree.
The number of self-declared convicts contesting phase 4 of the LS elections stands at 12, just below a high of 14 during phase 3 and equaling the convicts in phase one.
More than half - 37 of the 72 constituencies - will see three or more candidates with criminal cases against them contest.
For the first time this election, parties of the NDA are at the top of the list of parties fielding candidates with criminal cases against them.
The Shiv Sena leads with 57% of their candidates having criminal cases against them. 43% of candidates from the Shiv Sena have serious cases against them.
The BJP is not far behind, having 44% of its contestants having criminal cases against them - and 35% of their candidates having serious criminal cases against them.
A surprising entry in this category are 17% independents as a cohort collectively having criminal cases against them - with 13% cases against independents being serious.
ADR defines a serious criminal case as:
- Punishments of 5 years or more or it is non-bailable
- Electoral offences (such as bribery)
- Assault, murder, kidnap or rape
- Offences mentioned under the Representation of People’s Act, 1951
- Offences of corruption, under the Prevention of Corruption Act
How Does Money Talk In Phase Four
The contestants of fourth phase are marginally an economically healthier cohort than those in preceding phases.
As per the classifications done by ADR, which divides the asset groups of contestants into five categories, 61% of contestants fall into the lower two rungs – with declared assets of less than ₹50 lakhs. In the previous two phases, it was 64% and 65% respectively.
The average assets of a candidate of the Congress in the most in this phase, at ₹29 crore. The average assets of the BJP in this phase is at ₹13 crore.
A surprise entry in this list is the Vanchit Bahujan Agadhi - the party founded by Prakash Ambedkar in 2018.
Not only is the VBA fielding the second most valuable candidate in the fourth phase by assets, their 17 candidates have average assets of almost ₹9 crores each.
The average assets of candidates, regardless of party, is ₹4.53 crore.
However, it must be noted that all parties are fielding an unequal number of candidates.
While the Congress and BJP are fielding 57 candidates, the Shiv Sena is contesting 21, while the TMC, SP and NCP are fielding 11, 10 and 7 candidates respectively.
Nakul Nath of the Congress - son of the current CM of Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath - is contesting from his father's seat of Chhindwara. He has the highest declared assets this phase - amounting to almost ₹660 crores.
Again, in a first, two candidates from the Shiv Sena have entered the top 10 candidates by assets.
Political dynasts and celebrities are among the top of all candidates contesting in the third phase.
Nakul Nath tops the chart, followed closely by children of former Congress politicians - Priya Dutt and Milind Deora. Newcomer and former actress Urmila Matondkar too is high up there.
In this category, Congress encompasses the first five entries.
Big Fights In Phase 4
BOOM spells out a few headline grabbing fights that has the ability to go down to the wire and grab the limelight in phase four.
The constituency of Begusarai, called the 'Leningrad of Bihar' and 'Little Moscow', is a leftist stronghold - which the BJP won it in 2014.
The incumbent MP, Dr. Uday Singh, passed away in October 2018, leaving the seat currently unoccupied.
Begusarai is poised for a tight three-way fight. Current MoS for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises - Giriraj Singh - of the BJP will take on two candidates vying for the anti-BJP vote.
The Communist Party of India will be fielding youth firebrand candidate Kanhaiya Kumar, whereas UPA-ally RJD will be fielding Tanveer Hassan, who stood second after the BJP from the seat in 2014.
The Bengali town of Asansol will see actor Moon Moon Sen, representing TMC, contest against BJP candidate, Babul Supriyo, who's also a popular musician and the cuirrent MP from Asansol.
Contests in Mumbai are high-profile events, and this time is no different. The city has been a battleground of members of the UPA and the NDA.
Mumbai South: Current MP of the Shiv Sena, Arvind Sawant, will take on newly crowned Congress President for Mumbai and two-time MP Milind Deora.
Mumbai South Central: BJP MP Rahul Shewale will compete with Eknath Gaikwad of the Congress.
Mumbai North: Incumbent MP Gopal Shetty will take on newcomer and former actress Urmilla Matondkar.
Mumbai North East: The sole NCP candidate from Mumbai Sanjay Patil will contest against BJP's Manoj Kotak
Mumbai North Central: Incumbent MP of the BJP, Poonam Mahajan, will contest against two-time MP Priya Dutt - daughter of leader Sunil Dutt from the Congress.
Mumbai North West: BJP's Ganjan Kirtikar will take on former Congress President for Mumbai and MP Sanjay Nirupam.