Millionaires and billionaires in Haryana polls

Over 50 percent of the candidates in the fray for the Oct 13 assembly elections are millionaires and the ruling Congress is leading the pack with 80 percent of its 90 candidates being millionaires and billionaires. Even more startling are the figures of the 42 legislators in the previous assembly who are seeking re-election. Between the February 2005 and October 2009 elections, their assets have increased a whopping 388 percent at an average of Rs.4.8 crore. One legislator has recorded an increase of nearly 5,500 percent in assets in just over four years. The figures have been arrived at by a survey of the contestants done by the NGOs, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW). At least 50 crorepati candidates have admitted to having assets worth millions but have failed to provide any income-tax permanent account number (PAN) - a must for all major financial dealings. The ADR-NEW analysis, done from affidavits filed by the candidates, has found that the Congress has given the poll tickets to 72 millionaires and billionaires while the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has a list of 56 crorepati candidates. Other parties are not far behind - Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) has 44 millionaires, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 41 and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) 29. The average assets of all candidates of the Congress are pegged at over Rs.5 crore while for the INLD and HJC candidates the averages are above Rs.3 crore each.
Millionaire candidates in the February 2005 assembly election were only 19 percent of the 983 contestants compared to over 50 percent millionaires among the 1,222 contestants this time. HJC candidate Mohit for the Kosli assembly seat has assets of over Rs.93 crore while the richest Congress candidate is industrialist-businessman and former union minister Venod Kumar Sharma for the Ambala city seat with assets of Rs.87 crore. One of the richest women in India, Savitri Jindal, who belongs to the Jindal Steel group family and is a Congress candidate for the Hisar seat, has assets of over Rs.43 crore. Ajay Singh Chautala, son of former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, has declared assets of over Rs.28 crore. He is contesting the Dabwali assembly seat. BJP candidate Abhimanyu (Narnaul seat) also has assets of over Rs.27 crore. District-wise, the highest number of millionaires are from Faridabad (45), Gurgaon (37) and Hisar (37). At the other end of the assets spectrum, Ram Niwas, Samast Bharatiya Party candidate for the Israna seat, has declared no assets at all. Kailash Bhagat, INLD candidate for Kaithal, has declared assets of over Rs.63 crore but has liabilities of Rs.55 crore. Former MP and HJC president Kuldeep Bishnoi has declared assets of Rs.17 crore but has liabilities of Rs.12 crore.


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