Crorepatis in fray for Chhattisgarh polls

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Raipur, Nov 18: In the second phase of assembly polls in 51 seats in Chhattisgarh to be held on Nov 20, there are 42 crorepatis which included highest of 19 from the Congress. In the last phase of of polling there are also 53 cadidates with pending criminal cases against them with highest of 8 from the BSP and seven each of the Congress and BJP.

Of the total crorepati's 19 are Congress candidates, seven of BJP and five of BSP.

Interestingly, 218 candidates have given affadavits stating that they do not own any vehicles which included 27 candidates who were either crorepatis or declared assets worth more than Rs 25 lakhs.

Mr T S Baba of Congress is the richest candidate in the fray from Ambikapur seat. Baba, erstwhile Maharaja of Sarguja, has total asset worth Rs 106.20 crore while second in the line is Raj Kamal Singhaniya also the Congress candidate from Kasdoi seat with net assets of Rs 9.3 cr.

Former Congress chief minister Ajit Jogi with asset worth Rs 4.5 cr is fourth in the line followed by his doctor wife Renu with Rs 4.4 cr properties.

BJP's Mool Chand Khandelwal, who is contesting against Renu Jogi, is also a crorepati with assets worth Rs 3.5 cr.

Surprisingly, Ajit Jogi's asset increased by 648 per cent from what he filed in 2003 assembly polls while his wife rose by 638 per cent. Congress candidate from Katghora Balram Kanwar's asset increased by a record leap of 1689 per cent from Rs 1.90 lakh in 2003 to Rs 33.99 lakh in 2008.

This disclosure was made in the report of Chhattisgarh Election Watch (CGEW) here today after reviewing the affidavits filed by 524 candidates out of the total 687 in the fray for the second phase of elections in 51 seats. However CGEW was yet to publish its report on the 39 seats of the state which went to polls in the first phase on ovember 14 last.

CGEW is part of a nationwide campaign called National Election Watch (NEW) working on improving democracy and governance in the country. NEW is active in all states of the country and about 1200 NGOs and other organizations working on electoral reforms, improving democracy and governance.

As per the report out of the total 41 sitting MLAs contesting the polls, most of them had show increase in their net assets. There was an average asset increase of Rs 65 lakhs of the sitting MLAs between 2003 and 2008.


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