36 candidates with criminal record for Phase III polls

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Hubli, May 15 (UNI) In the 69 Assembly constituencies in Karnataka, which are going to the third phase of polls on May 22, as many as 36 candidates with criminal record are contesting, according to Karnataka Election Watch, an NGO, and Association for Democratic Reforms.

Addressing a press conference here today, organisation member Trilochan Shashtri said the BJP had fielded 12 such candidates, while the JD(S) had chosen seven, Congress six, INC six and other parties 11.

Five of these were charged with murder or attempted murder while others were allegedly involved in other crimes like assault.

Prof Shashtri, a faculty member of the IIM-Bangalore, said all the information about them were taken from the affidavits filed by the candidates while submitting their nomination papers.

He said there were only 23 women, out of the total 415 candidates, to contest the third phase of elections. The BJP had two women candidaes, BSP and INC three each, JD(S) and JD(U) six each and others three. Women constituted 5.5 per cent of the total number of candidates.

The total amount of the assets declared by the candidates for phase III was a whopping Rs 650 crore, with each candidate possessing an average asset of Rs 1.57 crore.

The INC topped the parties with total declared candidate asset of Rs 347 crore, where the average asset per candidate was Rs 5.03 crore. The BJP candidates had a total asset worth Rs 155 crore with Rs 2.26 crore per candidate, JD(S) Rs 84 crore with Rs 1.22 crore per candidate and BSP Rs 35 crore with Rs 0.52 crore per candidate, he said.

Prof Shashtri alleged that the elections had become a rich man's game and it was very difficult for an Independent candidate to win.

He said the organisation would take up the matter with the Income Tax and Election authorities, urging them to initiate action against these candidates.

Some of the parties repeat the candidates, whose assets had increased more than 200 times from what they declared during 2004 elections, he claimed.

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