883 crorepatis and 391 facing criminal cases in election fray

883 crorepatis and 391 facing criminal cases in election fray

As many as 883 crorepatis, including 208 from the BJP and 207 from Congress, are in fray for the next week’s election in which 391 candidates with declared criminal cases are seeking to represent people.

Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Karnataka Election Watch (KEW) released a report based on the analysis of affidavits filed by 2,560 of the 2,655 candidates. Of the 391 candidates with criminal cases, 254 are facing serious cases, including murder, attempt to murder and assaulting women to outrage modesty.

The percentage of crorepatis in the BJP has jumped from 72% in 2013 to 93%. In the Congress, the number went up from 88% to 94%, though affidavits of two candidates were yet to be analysed. The JD(S) has 77% crorepatis, as against 70% in 2013.

Interestingly, 17 candidates have declared zero assets while several others claimed they have just Rs 1,000 and Rs 6,000.

Harish Narasappa, state coordinator of KEW, said heads of the political parties seem to be giving more importance to the candidates’ money power rather than their leadership qualities or parliamentary knowledge.

“It seems they think 15 such (knowledgeable leaders) are enough to lead party and pick the rest among those who can supply money,” he said.

IIM(B) professor and founder member of National Election Watch, ADR, Trilochan Sastry stressed the need for making ticket distribution a democratic process to reduce the reliance on money and muscle power.

Noting that the report was prepared based on the analysis of the information in public domain, they said the aim was to remind the people the qualities of the candidates they are going to chose.

Stricter rules

Sastry said 309 candidates have not declared PAN details and yet their affidavits were accepted. “If citizens do not provide one document, basic needs are denied to them. Why is the
rule different for political parties and their candidates,” he asked.

The paltry representation of women continues as they constitute just 8% of the 2,560 candidates analysed. It is a minor improvement on the 6% number seen in the 2013 election.

Age-wise, more than a quarter of the candidates are above 50. There are 301 candidates between 61 and 70 years and 46 candidates between 71 and 80. Five candidates are above 80.

The report said 91 candidates, of them 55 independents were not analysed due to incomplete or poor visibility of scanned affidavits.