The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded the highest number of candidates with criminal background in Karnataka as compared to other parties in the state, according to a non-government agency.
BJP cadres collecting funds for the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at a Ghaziabad election rally. (Sakib Ali/HT photo)
The Janata Dal (Secular) is a close second and the Congress is placed third in a list compiled by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
Of the 28 candidates fielded by the BJP, nine (32%) have criminal cases against them, according to ADR. The Congress has fielded six such candidates (21%). The JD(S), which is contesting only 25 of the 28 seats, has fielded eight (32%) such candidates.
The ADR report, which was released at a press conference here on Tuesday, shows that the Congress and BJP are head-to-head when it comes to fielding candidates with "serious criminal cases" against them.
The two national parties have fielded four such candidates each, the ADR list says. The JD(S) has three candidates who fall in this category.
Interestingly, most BJP candidates in the list are charged with cases of rioting and promoting enmity between communities.
The cases against Congress candidates involve land grab, unlawful assembly and cheating.
Prominent candidates in the BJP camp who have criminal cases against them include former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, B Sriramulu, state president Prahlad Joshi and RSS strongman from coastal Karnataka, Nalin Kumar Kateel.
There are nine cases against Yeddyurappa, which include allegations of cheating, forgery, breach of trust and falsifying documents.
Sriramulu has eight cases against him which include causing hurt by dangerous weapons, criminal intimidation, rioting.
The case in which he has been accused of bribing a CBI judge to grant bail to G Janardhan Reddy has not been included by the ADR.
The cases against Joshi and Kateel involve promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion and provocation with intent to cause riots.
From the Congress, DK Suresh, brother of controversial Congress minister DK Shivakumar, tops the list with seven cases involving encroachment of forest land.
The brothers have been accused of running a massive illegal granite quarrying business. Former Congress chief minister N Dharam Singh is on the list with cases of cheating, forgery and land grab.
Prakash Rathod (Bijapur) has three cases and Rizwan Arshad (Bangalore Central) has two cases against him.
Both have been charged with criminal intimidation, wrongful restraint, unlawful assembly and causing hurt with lethal weapons.
Pramod Muthalik, contesting as an Independent from Bangalore South and Hubli-Dharwad, has eight cases against him for promoting enmity between communities, rioting and defiling places of worship.
Muthalik, who was shown the door within hours of his induction into the BJP, had led a mob that attacked women in a pub in Mangalore in 2009.
The ADR report also says that 96% of Congress and 93% of BJP candidates are crorepatis.