27 crorepatis seeking people's mandate in Meghalaya

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Shillong, Feb 28 (UNI) In all 27 crorepatis were among the total 331 candidates contesting the March 3 Assembly polls in Meghalaya.

According to a report, of these 27 rich candidates, ten were from Congress, seven NCP members, four from United Democratic Party, four Independent candidates and one each from Hill State People's Democratic Party and Meghalaya Democratic Party.

However, only seven of them have mentioned their Pan Card while filing the nomination.

Reports further stated that the Congress, which was contesting from all the 60 constituenties, was the richest of all the parties with average declared assets worth over Rs 2.5 crore.

Amongst the crorepatis was Health and Family Welfare minister Deborah C Marak with declared asset worth Rs 112 crore and is seeking re-election on Congress ticket from the backward Rongrenggri, East Garo Hills constituency.

Meghalaya Election Watch, an NGO, compiled jointly by Association for Democratic Reforms and Grassroots said former militant leader of the outlawed A'chik National Volunteers' Council Ashahel D Shira, who is seeking the people's mandate on NCP from Rajabala constituency declared his assets worth more than Rs 37 crore.

Incidentally, the tribals in Meghalaya are expemted from paying Income Tax as the state is listed under Sixth Schedule.

Besides, the report says a few former militants were contesting from eight constituencies.

With a mere 6.04 per cent representation, there are 20 women candidates in this matrilineal society.

On the educational background of candidates, 41 are postgraduates, 141 graduates with additional degrees or diplomas, 98 matriculate and above with just 19 being under-matriculate.

Moreover, the report adds the election would witness a large number of fairly young candidates with 54 per cent in the age group of 22 to 44 years.

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