Of the 2,654 candidates in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).
“The average assets of the 883 (35 percent) crorepati candidates are worth Rs 7.54 crore. Of the 645 contestants, 254 (10 percent) face serious criminal cases and 391 (15 percent) face criminal cases,” revealed a study by the Karnataka Election Watch and Delhi-based Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) ahead of the polls in the 223 constituencies across the state.
Of the 225-member lower house, including one nominated, election to the Jayanagar seat in the capital has been countermanded due to the death of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate B.N. Vijaya Kumar on May 4. Of the total candidates, the watchdogs could not analyse details of 95 candidates belonging to national, regional, local and fringe parties, as their affidavits were badly scanned or were incomplete on the websites of the poll panel and the Chief Electoral Officer of the southern state.
Affidavits of all the contesting 223 BJP candidates were analysed. Two hundred and eight (93 percent) of the 223 candidates in fray from the BJP have declared assets worth over Rs 1 crore, the highest number among all the parties contesting. A total of 207 (94 percent) of the 220 candidates from the ruling Congress, 154 (77 percent) of the 199 candidates from Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and 199 (18 percent) of the 1,090 Independents have declared assets more than Rs 1 crore.
The BJP candidates were found to be with the highest number of criminal cases against them, with 83 (37 percent) of the 223 candidates in fray having criminal cases against them and 58 others (26 percent) having serious criminal cases against them including murder. Of the 220 candidates analysed from the ruling Congress, a total of 59 (27 percent) have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits, while 32 (15 percent) have serious criminal cases against them.
Of the 199 JD-S candidates analysed by the study, 41 (21 percent) have criminal cases, and 29 (15 percent) have declared serious criminal cases in their poll affidavits. Of the total 1,090 Independents analysed, 108 (10 percent) have declared criminal cases against themselves, and 70 (6 percent) are accused of serious criminal charges.
The top three candidates with highest assets among all the candidates in fray belong to the ruling Congress – Priyakrishna, from Govindarajanagar constituency with Rs 1,020 crore worth total assets, N. Nagaraju from Hosakote Assembly seat with assets valued at Rs 1,015 crore and the state Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar from Kanakapura segment with Rs 840 crore assets.
Polling will be held in a single phase, in Karnataka, on May 12 for the 223 constituencies, including 36 reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 15 for Scheduled Tribes. The votes will be counted on May 15.