Bangalore: Forty seven candidates with criminal records are present in the electoral fray for the first phase of elections in Karnataka being held on May 10, an organisation said.
Among the major parties, the BJP has 12 candidates with criminal records, BSP nine, the Congress 10, JD(S) 13, JD(U) and Samajwadi party and Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha (KCVP) one each, the NGO which conducted the study, Association for Democratic Reforms, said.
All the major parties have candidates with criminal records, said Chairman of the NGO, Trilochan Sastry. Sastry is part of the team responsible for the findings.
The criminal charges include rioting, criminal assault and criminal breach of trust. There are at least eight candidates from major parties with murder or attempt to murder cases against them, Sastry said.
However, an important point to note was that the percentage of candidates with criminal records has shown a decline since 2004.
The number of candidates fielded by BJP with criminal records has declined from 28 in 2004 to 12 this year while the Congress figures have dipped from 12 to 10 and the JD(S) has seen a drop from 20 last polls to 14 this year.
"The candidates with criminal records are sometimes chosen because of their ability to unleash terror and to secure funds for the party," Sastry said.
"The overall quality of candidates leaves much to be desired. A lot of candidates are from the real estate, liquor, mining and other business," he added.
There are 14 candidates who have declared assets of over Rs 30 crore, of this five are from BJP, seven from Congress, and two from the JD(S), he said.
Candidates who have "high assets" between Rs 5 crore and Rs 30 crore exist in all the parties. The BJP has 14, BSP nine, INC 21, JD(S) 19, Sastry stated.
There are 33 candidates who have declared very low assets of Rs one lakh or less. The BJP has one, BSP 11, INC two, JD(S) two,JD(U) five and SP 12.
He said as many as 82 candidates reported a very steep increase in total assets between 2004 assembly elections and this election. The average increase in assets was a whopping 677 per cent.
"Investigations need to be conducted as to how these assets multiplied over these years", he said.
Interestingly though all political parties have been calling for women's representation and with one of them giving a public assurance to field 33 per cent women candidates, only 17 women from major parties have got tickets.
The BJP has five, BSP two, Cong six, JD(S) one and SP three candidates contesting in the first phase of the state polls.
Women have got less than five per cent representation.