The Hindu

Study paints a sorry picture of what may be the 14th Assembly

The ‘C’ words in politics — corruption and crime — are on everyone’s mind; and Bangalore’s candidates fare well on both counts. Sample this: no less than 76 per cent of the 156 candidates (from six major political parties) are crorepatis, having declared assets over Rs. 1 crore, while 20 per cent have declared they have criminal cases against them.

The Karnataka Election Watch’s (KEW) analysis of the affidavits of 156 Bangalore candidates from six major parties — Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, Janata Dal (S), Karnataka Janata Paksha, BSR Congress, and the Lok Satta Party — throws up a slew of revealing statistics about what may be the composition of the 14th Legislative Assembly.

The average assets per candidate contesting in Bangalore are worth around Rs. 25 crore. The Congress tops this list with an average of Rs. 67 crore per candidate, with JD(S) and BJP at Rs. 28 crore respectively. Topping the list of the richest candidates from Bangalore is, not surprisingly given the average, Priya Krishna (Congress) contesting from Govindrajnagar who is worth Rs. 910 crore. Ironically, he also tops the liabilities list with outstanding debts of Rs. 777 crore.

Standing second on the assets list is N. Nagaraju (Congress) from Hoskote constituency (Rs. 470.13 crore) and K. Bagegowda (JD-S) with Rs. 250 crore. In contrast, eight candidates have declared assets less than Rs. 1 lakh with KJP’s K.R. Puram candidate declaring zero assets.

The highest earner spot also went to a Congress candidate, N.A. Haris, contesting from Shantinagar this year. His annual income is Rs. 49 crore, his IT returns for 2011-2013 reveal.

Criminal records

The criminal records list is topped by the BJP (with 30 per cent candidates from Bangalore having criminal records), with the Congress finishing a close second at 28 per cent. The JD(S) has a record of 19 per cent, Lok Satta Party (18 per cent) and KJP (11 per cent).

Of the 32 with criminal cases against them, 16 are serious crimes such as murder, criminal intimidation, voluntarily causing hurt, and cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Both the Congress and the BJP have four candidates each with serious criminal cases, followed by JD(S) with three, KJP with two, and BSR Congress with one candidate who has serious criminal charges against him, the report states. Three have corruption cases booked against them — the JD(S)’ M.C. Narayana Gowda, KJP’s S.N. Srirama and the BJP’s Suresh Kumar. Further, 40 of the 79 sitting MLAs contesting this time have criminal cases against them.

Appalling statistic

An appalling statistic is the number of women contesting from Bangalore: only 10 of the 156 analysed (these only include those in the six major political parties, the actual numbers could be more). Of the 16 women contesting from Bangalore, six are from Lok Satta Party, four from KJP, three from JD(S), two from Congress followed by BSR Congress which has fielded one woman candidate.

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