Medinipur is one of the most backward districts in West Bengal. Yet, the politicians fighting from Paschim (west) Medinipur and Purba (east) Medinipur have the highest incomes.

Among all the candidates up for polls in the second phase of state assembly election on April 1, six are from the Trinamool Congress (TMC), three are from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and one is from the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) according to data provided by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Paschim Medinipur mostly consists of cultivators and agricultural labourers. At the same time, it is a regular victim of frequent floods and droughts. For a district that deals in agriculture, this puts a strain on the livelihood of the people living there. Moreover, even though there is no coastline in the region, it is heavily affected by cyclones between the months of October and November and untimely rains between April and May.

Purba Medinipur, on the other hand, is a combination of agriculture, industry and tourism. Yet, it comes under the Ministry of Panchayati Raj’s list of the country’s 250 most backward districts. Purba Medinipur is one of the 11 districts in West Bengal receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).

Despite the many resources available in the district, the lack of adequate infrastructure — both physical and social — has been a pain point in serving its vast rural population.

So, for the candidates contending in these areas, there is a complex web of issues to address.

This list is based on annual income for the last/current financial year disclosed by the candidate. The value of assets they own⁠— either in term cash or any other property⁠— may be different either because they bought it earlier or inherited. You can read about the richest candidates (by assets) here.

For now, let's take a quick look at the top ten candidates with the highest incomes in West Bengal ahead of the polls:

Dipankar Jana — ₹1.82 crore

Party: BJP
District: South 24 Parganas
Constituency: Kakdwip

Dipankar Jana is fighting the West Bengal election from South 23 Parganas’ Kakdwip constituency against TMC’s incumbent Manturam Pakhira and Congress’ Indranil Raut.

The Bachelors in Commerce graduate from Bangabasi College in Kolkata has two criminal cases registered against him relating to theft, dishonestly in receiving stolen property, criminal intimidation and multiple charges under the Indian Penal Code.

He is BJP’s second richest candidate fielding the election this year, after Bharati Ghosh. With assets in excess of ₹14 crore, he also has liabilities worth over ₹4 crore.

Arup Chakraborty — ₹55 lakh

Party: TMC
District: Bankura
Constituency: Taldangra

TMC’s Arup Chakrborty has the second-highest income of all the candidates contesting in the West Bengal election. The advocate will be fielding the election of Bankura’s Taldangra constituency against BJP’s Niladri Sekhar Dana and Congress’ Manoranjan Patra.

Soham Chakraborty — ₹ 52 lakh

Party: TMC
District: Purba Medinipur
Constituency: Chandipur

Fighting for the Chandipur constituency in Purba Medinipur. Part of Mamata Banerjee’s Tollywood squad, the star has the third highest reported income among West Bengal’s candidates fighting the upcoming election.

He joined the TMC in 2014 and was appointed as the All India Trinamool Youth Congress state vice president a year later.

During the 2016 West Bengal Legislative Assembly Election, Chakraborty contested from Barjora. But, he was defeated by Sujit Chakraborty of CPI-M by a margin of 616 votes.

Manas Ranjan Bhunia — ₹27 lakh

Party: TMC
District: Paschim Medinipur
Constituency: Sabang

Manas Ranjab Bhunia is a heavyweight player in West Bengal politics having been a part of India’s political landscape since 1982. He is currently the incumbent from the Sabang constituency.

His income comes from agriculture, his medical practice and what is drawing as salary by serving as a member of parliament (MP) of Rajya Sabha.

In the past he has served as the Minister for Irrigation and Waterways as well as the Minister for Small and Micro Industries and Textile within the government of West Bengal between 2011 to 2012.

In 2016, he joined Mamata Banerjee’s TMC and won in Sabang. This time around he will be knocking heads with BJP’s Hiranmoy Chattopadhyaya and Congress’ Reeta Sharma.

Tanmay Ghosh — ₹32 lakh

Party: BJP
District: Bankura
Constituency: Bishnupur

BJP’s Tanmay Ghosh is contesting the West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 from Bankura’s Bishnupur constituency against TMC’s Archita Bid and Congress’ Debu Chatterjee.

The incumbent Congress’ Tushar Kanti Battacharya — who later joined the TMC — will not be contesting the elections.

Ghosh’s income comes from his business including sand mills and rice mills.

Saumen Kumar Mahapatra — ₹25 lakh

Party: TMC
District: Purba Medinipur
Constituency: Tamluk

Contesting in Purba Mednipur’s Tamluk constituency, Saumen Kumar Mahapatra is going up against CPI’s Goutam Panda and BJP’s Hare Krishna Bera — also on the list of the top 10 candidates contesting the West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021.

His tax returns show that income is mostly from mutual funds, deposit interest and the salary drawn from the government of West Bengal.

Sangram Kumar Dolai — ₹20 lakh

Party: TMC
District: Purba Medinipur
Constituency: Moyna

Sangram Kumar Dolai is contesting the West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 from Purba Medinipur’s Moyna constituency. And, he will be going up against Congress’ Manik Bhownik and BJP’s Ashoke Dinda.

Dinda is expected to present a tough challenge with name recognition playing in his favour. The former cricket has played for various teams within the Indian Premier League (IPL) including the Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils and even the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Dolai’s income comes from his medical practice and the salary he draws as a member of the legislative assembly (MLA).

Humayun Kabir — ₹23 lakh

Party: TMC
District: Paschim Medinipur
Constituency: Debra

TMC’s Humanyun Kabir will be going up against BJP’s Bharati Ghosh and CPI-M’s Prankrishna Mondal in Paschim Medinipur’s Debra constituency. His reported income comes from being a pension holder and interest on savings.

Kabir’s odds are heavily tilted against him as his rival, Gosh, is former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and the richest candidate in phase two of the elections.

Tarapada Chakrabarti — ₹10 lakh

Party: AIFB
District: Bankura
Constituency: Onda

AIFB’s Tarapada Chakrabarti is a retired assistant headmaster of the Kalisen High School, and the pension from there forms his reported income in addition to the pension he is drawing as a former MLA.

Contesting the election from Bankura’s Onda constituency, Chakrabarti will have to beat out TMC’s Arup Kumar Khan and BJP’s Amar Sakha in order to win.

Hare Krishna Bera — ₹9 lakh

Party: BJP
District: Purba Medinipur
Constituency: Tamluk

The second candidate from Purba Medinpur’s Tamluk constituency to be featured on the list is Hare Krishna Bera. He will be going up against CPI’s Goutam Panda and TMC’s Soumen Mahapatra

His income from his medical practice as per his tax returns.

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