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The Congress comes in second with 59 (26%) of its 220 candidates embroiled in criminal cases. Of the 199 candidates Janata Dal (Secular) has fielded, 41 (20%) face criminal cases.
An analysis released on Sunday by non-governmental organisation Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) showed that the number of candidates with criminal cases has gone up to 391 in 2018, from 334 in the 2013 assembly elections. The ADR analysis is based on affidavits filed by the candidates. In all, 391 out of 2,560 candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
“People may have expected parties to be law-abiding and show improvement in terms of probity. Contrary to that, political parties have only recorded an upward swing in choosing candidates with criminal backgrounds. Now, it is up to voters to choose the best among the available lot,” said Trilochan Shastry, founder and trustee of ADR.
The BJP scores high even when it comes to choosing candidates with serious criminal cases. A serious criminal case is one in which a convicted person gets at least a five-year jail term. Of the BJP candidates, 58 (26%) face serious criminal charges. The Congress has picked 32 candidates (15%) with serious criminal cases, while the JD(S) has picked 29 (15%) such candidates.
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The total number of candidates with serious criminal cases too has gone up – from 195 candidates in 2013 to 254 this time. Four candidates have murder cases against them, and 25 have declared that they face attempt to murder cases. In all, 23 candidates have declared cases related to crimes against women, such as assault or criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage modesty. In 2013, 12 candidates faced cases related to crimes against women.
The ADR has classified 56 red alert constituencies, where there are three or more candidates with criminal charges. These constituencies include Kolar and Koppal, where six candidates each have declared such cases against them.
On declaration of wealth, the poll fray has 447 candidates with assets worth more than Rs 5 crore.
The richest candidates belong to the Congress: Priya Krishna, candidate from Govindarajanagar, has assets worth Rs 1,020 crore; MTB Nagaraj, from Hoskote, has Rs 1,015 crore; DK Shivakumar, seeking re-election from Kanakapura, has Rs 840 crore.
Priya Krishna scores the highest even in terms of liabilities, declaring them as Rs 802 crore.
By sharp contrast are Dilip Kumar, independent from Bommanahalli, with movable assets worth Rs 1,000; Rajajinagar candidate M Lakshmi of Jai Bharathi Party with Rs 2,000; and Sreenivas S, independent from Krishnaraja, with Rs 2,053. All three have declared zero immovable assets.