Even as the apex court on Friday declared that candidates contesting elections must show the source of their income along with their spouse and dependent children to keep a tab on assets, a look at the declarations by MLAs re-contesting elections in Tripura shows a 47 percent growth in asset value on average.
The number of MLAs re-contesting elections in Tripura, which goes to polls on February 18, is 54. The average value of their assets in 2013 was Rs 54.8 lakhs, which has now gone up to Rs 80.4 lakhs. “The average growth in assets of re-contesting MLAs from 2013 to 2018 is Rs 25.62 lakhs, that is, by 47 percent,” said a statement by the transparency NGO Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Tripura Election Watch.

According to the report by ADR, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, a BJP candidate contesting this year from Dhalai constituency, has declared assets amounting to more than Rs 41 lakh in his affidavit. The reason, said the report, was the addition of immovable assets to his affidavit. Another MLA who saw a significant rise in his asset value is Padma Kumar Deb Barma, whose assets skyrocketed by 1081 percent, or Rs 17 lakh. Barma had declared only Rs 1 lakh worth assets in 2013, which has now gone up to Rs 18 lakh.

Chief minister Manik Sarkar, who is contesting from Dhanpur, has shown an increase of 24 percent in his assets. While he declared assets worth Rs 26 lakh in 2013, this year, he has declared assets value at Rs 33 lakhs. He also showed his annual income at Rs 4 lakh.

The party showing the maximum number of MLAs with heftier assets is CPI(M), which 44 re-contesting MLAs whose assets showed an upward trend. Seven BJP MLAs saw a Rs 86 lakh growth in assets while two INC MLAs saw a Rs 76 lakh growth. In CPI, only one re-contesting MLA saw a growth of slightly more than Rs 4 lakh.

Interestingly, six MLAs - all of CPI(M) - declared a loss in their assets from 2013. Bijoy Laxmi Singha, contesting from Kamalpur in Dhalai, has declared a 68 percent decrease in his assets, from Rs 15 lakh in 2013 to Rs 4 lakh this year.

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