For the first time in many years, it is not politicians with interests in real estate or the mining industry who are topping the wealth charts in the list of candidates who have filed their nominations for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Karnataka.
It is the new economy’s information technology industry that is on top this time, courtesy Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and former Infosys CFO V Balakrishnan — in the fray for the polls scheduled for April 17.
The presence of the two tech industry czars has overshadowed the traditional real estate barons.
Nandan Nilekani, 58, who is contesting from Bangalore South on a Congress ticket, has emerged as the richest contender in the state with assets worth over Rs 7,700 crore mostly in the form of Infosys shares held by him and his wife.
“I am proud of the fact that my wealth is completely transparent. I have not made any money illegally or hid it in investments outside the country. Nothing is hidden in someone else’s bank account. It is all completely transparent and tax-paid,’’ Nilekani said after filing his nomination.
Former Infosys CFO V Balakrishnan, contesting from Bangalore Central on an Aam Aadmi Party ticket, also stars in the richest candidates list with wealth amounting to over Rs 160 crore, with Rs 102 crore vested in Infosys shares.
Surprisingly, there are two Janata Dal (Secular) candidates in the list of the top five wealthiest candidates with real estate baron Prabhakar Reddy declaring assets worth Rs 220 crore and former JDS chief minister H D Kumarawamy declaring wealth worth Rs 190 crore.
The major chunk of wealth of the two JDS candidates is vested in real estate holdings in and around Bangalore.
Prabhakar Reddy, 42, a Bangalore real estate businessman, had incidentally contested the Assembly elections last year on a JDS ticket from the Bangalore South constituency and had declared his wealth to be Rs 233.88 crore. He was the fourth richest in the poll fray in 2013.
Former Karnataka chief minister’s real estate holdings is largely located near Bidadi on the Bangalore-Mysore road, with over 20 acres of the over-40 acre held by him being a gift from his aunt.
Bangalore Rural MP and Congress candidate D K Suresh, who has declared assets worth Rs 85 crore, and the JDS state president A Krishnappa with assets amounting to Rs 70 crore are the other wealthy candidates in the fray. Both Suresh and Krishnappa’s wealth is in the form of land holdings.
The wealth declared by Nilekani for the 2014 polls is far ahead of the record Rs 910 crore declared by 29-year-old Priya Krishna, the Congress MLA from Govindrajanagar, during the Assembly polls in 2013.