Under new rules set by the Indian Supreme Court, he was stripped of his parliamentary seat in September last year after being convicted over a scam involving the misuse of funds for animal fodder in the 1990s.
The new rules make it illegal for politicians found guilty of serious crimes to stay in office, although convictions can take decades.
The electorate is increasingly demanding a clean-up of politics with momentum growing thanks to anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal, who has tapped into seething public anger over graft.
After making a stunning debut at state polls in Delhi late last year, Kejriwal’s party is tipped to win a handful of seats in these elections.
The former tax inspector’s message has resonated with many voters and forced the scandal-plagued Indian Congress Party, in power since 2004, and the BJP to take up the pledge of cleaner government.
“They [voters] know that if corrupt elements win the election, you will get corrupt governance,” the Association for Democratic Reform’s Trilochan Sastry said.
Baitha, a candidate for a regional party who has told media he was only an ideological not a militant leader of a banned insurgent group, seems unphased by the shifting mood.