Economic Times

Analysis of the data has revealed that money power and muscle power have a large bearing on the outcome of the election results," says the report.

The last decade in Karnataka politics has shown that candidates with a criminal background have had a higher chance of winning a seat than those with clean records, according to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reform (ADR) and Karnataka Election Watch (KEW), both nonprofits. While candidates with a clean background had a 7% chance of winning, candidates with criminal backgrounds were three times as likely to win.

"Analysis of the data has revealed that money power and muscle power have a large bearing on the outcome of the election results," says the report.

Since 2004, political parties in Karnataka have fielded 1135 candidates with criminal charges against them. That is 13% of the total 88983 candidates by the two organizations. Around 8% or 709 candidates were facing serious criminal charges.

Of the total candidates analyzed, the nonprofits analyzed 801 candidates who had won seats either in the Assembly or in the Parliament. Around 30% or 239 of these legislators had criminal cases against them, and 150 were facing serious charges.

The BJP took the lead in fielding candidates with criminal charges, followed by the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS). It also had the highest number of legislators facing criminal charges (34%), followed by the JDS at 29% and the Congress at 24%.

Wealth is another major factor that tips the scales in favor of winning, according to the analysis. The analysis shows that a criminal background often goes hand-in-hand with higher wealth.

While an average candidate has assets worth Rs 5.91 crore, a candidate with criminal charges on average holds more than twice that amount — around Rs 14.37 crore. If they are facing serious charges, the average assets increase to Rs 14.59 crore, according to the report.

In case of legislators, an average MP or MLA holds Rs 22.33 crore. One with criminal charges holds on average Rs 33.55 crore, and one facing serious charges holds Rs 33.24 crore, according to the analysis.

Congress candidates outpace the other parties in terms of wealth, with an average Congress ticket holder having assets of Rs 37.94 crore. A JDS candidate has less than half of that, with average assets of Rs 12.28 per candidate. The BJP has even less, with Rs 12.21 per candidate.

With elections weeks away, parties are drawing up candidate lists. While all the parties have flung accusations of criminal association and corruption at each other in the campaign, no party has yet pledged not to field candidates facing serious criminal charges.

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