Odisha has 103 crorepati candidates for the 70 Assembly constituencies going to polls in the first phase on April 10, according to a report release by the state chapter of the National Election Watch.
Of the 673 candidates for the first phase Assembly polls, 103 (15 per cent) are crorepatis, Odisha Election Watch (OEW) Coordinator Ranjan Kumar Mohanty said.
BJP’s Rourkela candidate Dilip Ray, a businessman-turned-politician, is the richest candidate in the state with his total assets worth Rs 106 crore followed by the saffron party’s Deogarh nominee Nithesh Gangadeb, member of a royal family, with property worth Rs 17 crore.
BJD’s Kabisurya Nagar candidate Sugnana Kumarn Deo, a member of a royal family, has assets worth Rs 13 crore followed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of Hinjili (Rs 12 crore), BJD’s candidate from Bolangir A U Singhdeo (Rs 11 crore) and BJD’s Sanakhemundi seat and royal family member Nandini Devi (Rs 11 crore).
BSP candidate from Chhendipada Gobinda Naik is also a crorepati with the value of his assets at Rs 10 crore and Congress candidate from Jharsuguda Naba Kishore Das has assets valued at Rs 10 crore.
Dilip Ray again tops the list with income of Rs 1.34 crore per annum followed by sitting Congress MLA and Independent candidate Chakradhar Paik with Rs one crore and A U Singhdeo (Rs 23 lakh).
Ruling BJD has fielded 34 crorepatis followed by 26 crorepatis by Congress and 19 crorepatis by BJP. Even Aam Admi Party (AAP) has five crorepati contestants.
In contrast, eight candidates have zero assets and 104 candidates have declared that they have assets less than Rs one lakh, the report said.
Of the 673 candidates, 452 candidates (67 per cent) have not declared annual Income Tax Return (ITR). The crorepati candidates who have not declared ITR included BSP candidate Gobinda Naik (Chhendipada), BJP candidate Ananda Barik (Biramitra) and Samata Kranti Dal candidate Meenaketan Jena (Parlakhemundi), the OEW report said.
The election watchdog has also identified five sitting MLAs, seeking renomination in 2014 and recorded highest increase in assets. BJD MLA from Nabarangpur Monohar Randhari, who had mentioned Rs 6 lakh as the value of his assets in 2009, this time showed Rs one crore as his assets.
BJP MLA Karendra Majhi from Baliguda segment has this time shown the value of his assets at Rs 2 crore while in 2009 he had property worth only Rs 12 lakh.
Similarly, Congress MLA Rajendra Kumar Chhatri from Kuchinda has assets worth Rs 28 lakh against his assets worth Rs 2 lakh in 2009. BJD Minister Usha Devi, who had property worth Rs 11 lakh in 2009, this time shows Rs 1 crore as the value of her assets. Congress MLA Grogery Minz’s property has also increased from Rs 7 lakh in 2009 to Rs 76 lakh in 2014.
Interestingly, while 41 MLAs who have been seeking re-election this time, 40 have shown increase of their assets, only one BJD MLA and former minister Sarada Prasad Nayak in his affidavit said that the value of his assets declined to Rs 15 lakh in 2014 from Rs 28 lakh in 2009.