42 of the candidates contesting in the second phase of the Chhattisgarh assembly election have declared assets of over Rs.1 crore, statistics released by the Chhattisgarh Election Watch reveal.
The Congress has 17 crorepati candidates followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party with 7 and the Bahujan Samaj Party with 5. Despite having such massive assets most of them have not given their Permanent Account Number.
On the other side of the spectrum are candidates who have declared zero cash as well as zero deposit. This list includes eight candidate whose asset value otherwise is more than ten lakhs. What is more surprising is that the list also includes 14 candidates who have declared that they have zero total assets, meaning not only do they not have any cash or other deposits, they also do not have any other asset.
The assets of most of the 41 sitting legislators contesting the election, in the second phase, have increased many-fold. The average increase in the assets of these members of Legislative Assembly is a staggering 213 per cent or almost Rs 65 lakh per MLA. When it comes to criminal records, there are 53 candidates with pending criminal cases.
Among major parties, the BSP has eight candidates with a criminal records,while the BJP and the Congress have 7 each.
There were 12.5% criminal candidates contesting for elections in 2003 assembly elections (71 out of 567 for all constituencies) which is 10% for the phase II.
Several candidates including some from the major parties have not declared their PAN numbers even though the affidavits have an option for this. Of the candidates not giving their PAN numbers, the BSP has 33 such candidates, the BJP has 20 ,the Congress has 17 and others include 308 such candidates. Several of the candidates not giving PAN no have assets in the excess of 1 crore.
Another interesting aspect is the almost total absence of women candidates. Chhattisgarh has the highest number of women voters, and in many constituencies, the women voters outnumber the men. But 47 women are contesting elections in the second phase. Amongst the main parties, BJP has fielded only 2, the Congress 3, BSP 5. Though major
parties have given a public assurance to field 33 per cent women candidates, they have not done so. The total percentage of women contesting elections is less than 9 per cent.