The Economic Times
ET Bureau

More than half of Karnataka’s newly elected legislators have declared criminal cases against themselves, according to non-profits Karnataka Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). In an earlier report, the organisations had found that 581 contesting candidates had criminal backgrounds, out of which, 122 - 55% of the the 223 analysed - have now been elected.

Around 32% of the winning candidates have declared serious criminal cases against themselves. The numbers mark a significant rise against 2018’s figures - 35% MLAs had criminal backgrounds and 24% were facing serious charges back then.

This year, 58% of the Congress’ winners, 52% of the BJP’s and 19% from the JDS have a criminal background. In the serious crimes category, 40 candidates from the Congress, 23 from the BJP and seven from the JDS are facing charges. One winning candidate is facing murder charges, seven have declared cases related to crimes against women, and one is facing rape charges.

The Representation of People Act, 1951, bars convicted persons from contesting elections unless the sentence is stayed by a court. However, people under trial are still allowed to contest.

Financial backgrounds:

According to the report, there has been no change from the situation in 2018 - 97% of the newly elected candidates are crorepatis. The average assets per winning candidate amount to Rs 64.39 crore, as compared to Rs 34.59 crore in 2018. Around 81% of the candidates own assets worth more than Rs 5 crore.

The Congress has yet again churned out the richest candidates, with the average assets of a newly elected Congress MLA amounting to Rs 67.13 crore. The party has eight candidates in the list of top 10 richest winners, and has claimed the top three spots as well. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president DK Shivakumar, who is one of the likely choices for the chief minister’s post is the wealthiest candidate, with assets worth more than Rs 1,413 crore.

The average assets of a winning candidate from the BJP amount to Rs 44.36 crore, whereas those of a JDS candidate amount to Rs 46.01 crore. There is one BJP and one JDS candidate in the top ten list - HK Suresh from Belur and MR Manjunath from Hanur respectively.

Age and Gender:

Around 35% candidates are in the 51 - 60 age group. There are 64 candidates below the age of 50. The Congress has both the youngest and oldest candidates, with the youngest being Darshan Dhruvanarayana, 28, and the oldest being Shamanur Shivashankarappa who is 91.

There are 10 women winning candidates out of all the legislators, compared to seven in 2018. There were 185 women contesting the elections this year.

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