State sees steady rise in number of candidates with criminal history

Study shows 391 out of 2,560 candidates in 2018 Assembly polls had criminal cases against them

A look at the last few Assembly elections in Karnataka shows the number of candidates with criminal cases steadily rising, from 195 in 2008 to 334 in 2013 and 391 in 2018. This assumes significance in the light of the Supreme Court on Thursday ordering political parties to publish criminal history of their candidates for the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls within 48 hours of selection.

A study by the Karnataka Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) during the Karnataka Legislative Assembly elections in 2018 showed 391 with criminal cases out of an analysis of 2,560 candidates. Cases of as many as 254 were serious in nature.

Among major parties, 83 (37%) out of 224 candidates from BJP, 59 (27%) out of 220 candidates from Congress, and 41 (21%) out of 199 candidates analysed from Janata Dal (Secular) had declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits, according to the ADR report. As many as 58 (26%) from BJP, 32 (15%) from Congress, and 29 (15%) from JD(S) declared serious criminal cases such as murder, attempt to murder, and kidnapping against themselves in their affidavits.

The Karnataka Election Watch and ADR have analysed the affidavits of 2,560 out of 2,655 candidates for the Karnataka 2018 Assembly Elections.

It said that there were 56 (25%) red alert constituencies in the Assembly Elections in 2018. Red alert constituencies are those which have three or more candidates with declared criminal cases.

Harish Narasappa, a volunteer at Karnataka Election Watch, ADR, welcomed the Supreme Court order saying it was “a step forward”, but said it would not solve the problem of candidates with criminal antecedents in politics.

“The only solution is when parties take a stand not to field those with cases of serious criminal offences and offences for regulatory violations. But as winnability becomes the only criteria, there seems to be no solution visible,” he said. But the Supreme Court order now informs the voters as to which party has fielded the most candidates with such antecedents helping them to make an informed choice. “But the political parties have to now own up these candidates and their antecedents explicitly,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 7:52:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/state-sees-steady-rise-in-number-of-candidates-with-criminal-history/article30813362.ece

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