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Karnataka polls: 132 candidates with criminal records
Vicky Nanjappa | May 18, 2008 17:52 IST
As many as 132 candidates contesting in the Karnataka elections this year have a criminal record. The charges against the candidates vary from murder, attempt to murder, assault with deadly weapons, cheating and so on.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leads the pack with 37 candidates while the Janata Dal-Secular comes second with 28. The Congress has fielded 25 candidates with a criminal record. The remaining parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Janata Dal-United and others have 42 such candidates.
Statistics available with the Karnataka Election Watch, an initiative by the Association of Democratic Reforms, suggest that in the first phase of polling, the Janata Dal-Secular fielded 13 candidates with a criminal background while the BJP and Congress had 12 and 10 such ccandidates respectively. In the second phase, the BJP fielded 13 candidates with criminal records, the Congress had 9 and the JD-S had 8 such candiadtes. The BJP has fielded 12 candidates with a criminal background in the third phase of the polls while the Congress has 6 and the JD-S has seven.
The Karnataka Election Watch says that the overall quality of candidates leaves much to be desired. Unless the trend of fielding candidates with criminal records is checked, elections, democracy and overall governance will suffer.
A lot of these candidates are industrialists from real estate, liquor, mining and other industries. The Karnataka Election Watch points out that many candidates have reported a staggering increase in their assets, which needs to be investigated.
However, the various political parties are fielding fewer candidates with criminal records this year. In 2004, the BJP had 49 candidates with a criminal background, as against the 39 this year. The Janata Dal � Secular had fielded 39 candidates with criminal records in 2004, but is fielding only 28 this year.