27 nominees in first phase of Karnataka poll have criminal past

April 15th, 2009 - 2:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, April 15 (IANS) In all, 27 candidates with criminal records are in the fray for the first phase of elections in 17 Lok Sabha constituencies across Karnataka April 23, a report by National Election Watch (NEW) reveals.
Of the 27, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accounts for six, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) for five and the Congress for four, with the remaining 12 from other parties and independents.

A total of 273 candidates are contesting in 17 constituencies from the state in the first phase and 156 in the remaining 11 constituencies in the second phase April 30. NEW is yet to come out with the list of criminal candidates in the second phase.

“All the three major political parties in Karnataka have fielded candidates with criminal records. Our report is based on the data compiled by the election commission,” NEW convener Trilochan Sastry said here Tuesday. He released the report on “Criminal and financial background of candidates from Karnataka” for the first phase.

“Though the BJP and the Congress have fielded candidates in all the 17 seats and the JD-S in 15, we had details from the poll panel only on 14 candidates from the BJP, 15 from the Congress and 11 from the JD-S for compiling the report,” Sastry, who is also the dean (academic) at the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B), pointed out.

Three candidates each from the BJP and the JD-S and one from the Congress face serious criminal cases pertaining to promoting enmity between different groups, kidnapping, theft and false statement in connection with elections.

BJP candidate Ananthkumar Hegde, 40, contesting from Uttara Kannada, has four criminal cases, followed by JD-S nominee G. Chandranna from Kolar with three cases and former state chief minister and JD-S nominee H.D. Kumaraswamy from Bangalore rural seat with one case.

“Although six of 94 independents face criminal cases, we are focusing on candidates from major political parties as more often than not, their candidates win elections,” said NEW coordinator Sridhar Pabbisetty.

The election watch is a nationwide campaign comprising over 1,200 non-government organisations and citizen-led organisations.

“We’ve no grudge against any political party or candidate. We are working on electoral reforms and trying to improve democracy and governance by sensitising voters,” Sastry added.

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