Undivided Koraput & Kalahandi district with highest poor in State. Backwardness mirrors in netas education profile as massive 53 per cent could read only 5th to 12th standard; but poverty hardly finds a reflection in netas of this poor land

Bhubaneswar: In poverty stricken part of Odisha, a whopping 46 per cent netas who are going to contest polls in first phase are crorepatis.

The irony is phase-1 elections are going to take place in that part of Odisha, the undivided Koraput and Kalahandi district, which has the highest number of poor in the State and are among the top backward districts in Odisha.

The backwardness though finds a mirror image in the netas when their education profile suggests that a massive 53 per cent of contesting candidates in assembly constituencies going to polls could read  only  5th to 12th standard. But the poverty hardly finds a reflection in the netas of this poor land.

Significantly, the poverty rich Koraput has candidates who have the lowest assets of a meagre Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000. But none belong to any of the 4 major parties – BJD, BJP, Congress and BSP. Interestingly, two independent candidates contesting from Gopalpur and Nuapada assembly seats, respectively, have nil assets.

According to the data analysed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), when around 22 per cent contesting MLA candidates have assets around Rs 2cr – Rs 5cr; around 20 per cent have assets worth Rs 50 lakh to Rs 2crore. Around 4 per cent candidates have assets over Rs 5 crore. The analysis further added that while 28 per cent contestants have assets totalling Rs 10 – Rs 50 lakh. Only 38 per cent candidates have less than Rs 50 lakh assets.

When transparency has been the buzzword in ‘New India’, the twist in the tale is a high of around 14 per cent of the contestants didn’t reveal their PAN details in their affidavits filed. A high of 50 per cent political leaders contesting polls have not declared their ITR details. BJD candidate from Paralakhemundi, Kalyani Gajapati, has not filed Income Tax Return (ITR) details.

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