Bhubaneswar: Chief minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik is the richest candidate among the 244 in the fray for the 35 assembly constituencies going to the polls in the second phase on April 18. Patnaik, who is contesting from the Hinjili and the Bijepur assembly seats, has declared total assets worth Rs 63 crore.
The other wealthy candidates include BJP’s Patnagarh assembly candidate and a member of the former royal family , Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo, who has property worth Rs 37 crore; and BJD’s Jharsuguda assembly seat nominee Naba Kishore Das, who has assets worth Rs 33 crore.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a voluntary organisation working on electoral reforms, on Monday released details of the financial, educational and criminal backgrounds of candidates to help voters make an informed choice.

Of the candidates in the fray, 70 (29%) are crorepatis. The ruling BJD has the maximum number of crorepatis — 21 (60%). The BJP and Congress have 20 (57%) and 13 (41%) crorepatis, respectively.

The average asset per candidate contesting the second phase of the polls is Rs 1.93 crore. Two Independent assembly candidates — Ananta Kanhar and Birendra Kumar Gouda contesting Phulbani and Bhanjanagar, respectively — have zero assets.

Among the 35 Lok Sabha (LS) candidates, 31% are crorepatis. Of them, BJP’s Balangir LS candidate Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo is the richest with property worth Rs 37 crore. She is followed by her opponent from BJD, Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, with assets worth Rs 20 crore.

Elections will be held in the five Lok Sabha seats of Bargarh, Sundargarh, Balangir, Kandhamal and Aska and the 35 assembly seats under them on April 18.

As many as 35%, (81 of the 241) candidates for the assembly seats have criminal cases while 28% (68) have serious criminal cases like assault, murder, kidnap, rape, crimes against women and bribery against them. Among the LS candidates, five of the 35 (14%) have serious criminal cases against them.

In the second phase, there are 14 red alert constituencies — seats that have three or more candidates with declared criminal cases.

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