Bangalore, May 18 (IANS) Sad, but true. Karnataka ended up electing nine parliamentarians with criminal record during the 15th Lok Sabha polls, a report by National Election Watch (NEW) reveals.
The report by NEW was done immediately after the polls results were out May 16.
The report states that out of 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka, nine seats ended up selecting politicians with criminal record. In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, Karnataka elected four parliamentarians with criminal record.
NEW is a nationwide campaign comprising more than 1,200 NGOs and other citizen led organisations, which have been working on electoral reforms, improving democracy and governance in India.
'It is sad that around 32 percent of the elected representatives from the state for the 15th Lok Sabha have criminal record,' convener of NEW, Trilochan Sastry, told IANS.
'We've no personal grudge against any political party or leader. NEW is working on electoral reforms and trying to improve democracy and governance in India by sensitizing the voters,' added Sastry.
Of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won 19, Congress six, and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) three seats. No Independent candidate has been elected from Karnataka.
All political parties have some winning candidates with criminal record, states the report.
BJP tops the list with six winners with criminal record, JD-S has two and Congress has one.
The winning candidates who have criminal record include H.D. Kumaraswamy of JD-S from Bangalore Rural, Angadi Suresh Channabasappa of BJP from Belgaum, Katti Ramesh Vishwanath of BJP from Chikkodi, Nalin Kumar Kateel of BJP from Dakshina Kannada, N. Cheluvaraya Swamy of JD-S from Mandya, Ananth Kumar Hedge of BJP from Uttara Kannada, N. Dharam Singh of Congress from Bidar, Pakkirappa S. of BJP from Raichur and P.C. Mohan of BJP from Bangalore Central.
'The cases against the nine winning candidates are of serious nature and fall under various sections of IPC (Indian Penal Code),' informed Sindhu Naik, member of NEW, Karnataka Chapter.
Some of the cases against the criminal parliamentarians fall under section 295 (A) of IPC (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), section 153 (A) of IPC (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), section 324 of IPC (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and section 295 of IPC (Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class).
'Criminalisation of politics continues to be a concern, with an increase in the number of such MPs representing Karnataka in the 15th Lok Sabha,' said Sandeep Shastri, senior political analyst.