Election in Haryana field for wealthy

Many candidates in the fray are crorepatis

Leading the pack is the party of “aam aadmi,” the Congress, which has 80 per cent of its candidates as crorepatis. Seventy- two of the 90 candidates the party has fielded have assets exceeding Rs 1 crore, reveals a survey conducted by the National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms.

Not only has the ruling Congress shown apparent bias in preferring crorepati candidates, 31 of its legislators in the outgoing Assembly, who are in the fray again, have seen their assets multiplying by 52 to 54.88 per cent between 2005 and 2009, the survey reveals.
A case in point is Congress candidate Sharda Rathore from the Faridabad constituency who had declared assets to the tune of Rs 81,663 before the 2005 Assembly poll. Now, she has declared assets worth over Rs 45 lakh — registering an increase of 5488 per cent. Party’s campaign in charge Venod Sharma, who had declared assets worth Rs 9.36 crore in 2005, has now declared assets worth over Rs 87 crore — a smart increase of 833 per cent.

Other parties are not lagging too far behind, though. The INLD, led by former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, has 56 crorepatis, the HJC led by former chief minister Bhajan Lal has 44, the BJP has 41, while the BSP has 29 crorepatis.

The Congress heads the list with average assets per candidate of over Rs 5.59 crore in 90 constituencies underscoring the high percentage of deep-pocket candidates. The ruling party in Haryana, , also tops the list in terms of fielding candidates with criminal background. Fourteen of its 90 candidates have criminal charges against them.

The survey also points out to the hollowness of rhetoric by political parties for increasing the representation of women in legislatures. There are only 68 women candidates out of 1,222 in the fray for the 90 seats in Haryana this time which comes to only 5.5 per cent.
The survey was based on scrutiny of affidavits of 489 candidates from mainstream political parties, including the Congress, the BJP, the INLD, the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), the BJP, the BSP and the Samajwadi Party.

There are 1,222 candidates in the fray for the 90 Assembly seats this time, a whopping increase of 20 per cent over the 2005 polls in the state when only 983 candidates had contested.

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