Bhubaneswar: A riveting analysis on state election this year has revealed that the average assets of ministers in Odisha cabinet have jumped by a whopping 223% since last polls in 2014.

According to a report presented by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Odisha Election Watch, the average assets of ministers increased from Rs 2.27 crore to Rs 7.34 crore in the past five years. Thirty-three out of 95 crorepati winners analysed have won with a vote share of 50% and above, the report said. Similarly, 22 non-crorepati candidates won against crorepati candidates.

“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has the highest declared assets of Rs 63.87 crore followed by Health and Family Welfare Minister Naba Kishore Das with assets worth Rs 33.62 crore and Law Minister Pratap Jena with assets worth Rs 9.64 crore. Other crorepati ministers in Naveen’s 2019 Cabinet are: Ashok Chandra Panda (Rs 8.52 cr), Dibya Shankar Mishra (Rs 8.07 cr), Tukuni Sahu (Rs 4.51 cr), Niranjan Pujari (Rs 3.97 cr), Bikram Keshari Arukha (Rs 3.82 cr) and Raghunandan Das (Rs 3.05 crore),” the report said.

It also stated that 26 out of 67 candidates with declared criminal cases won the last election to the Odisha Legislative Assembly against runners-up with a clean background. However, among the 146 seats analysed in the report, there were 38 winners with a clean background who defeated candidates with declared criminal cases. Of these 38 winners, six won with more than 25% margin of votes.

Ministers who have declared criminal cases against them are Sudam Marndi, Susanta Singh, Prafulla Kumar Mallik, Samir Ranjan Dash, Pratap Jena, Dibya Shankar Mishra, Jagannath Saraka and Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi.

The Naveen Patnaik cabinet did not see any significant change in women members since last election. While 22 ministers were sworn in 2014, the Odisha cabinet now has 21. Meanwhile, among the 146 winners in this, 13 are women. Among the women winners, Latika Pradhan (BJD) from Kabisuryanagar Constituency has won with the highest vote share, 62.87 % in her constituency and 33.38% of margin of victory.

Meanwhile, the NOTA button instated by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in 2013 gave the voters the option of rejecting all the candidates in their constituency. Out of 2,34,17,695 votes polled in the 2019 Odisha Assembly election, 2,44,974 (1.05%) went to NOTA.

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