Times Of India

Out of the 101 re-contesting MLAs for the February 20 Punjab assembly polls, Badal cousins – Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal and finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal – have recorded the highest increase in their assets in the last five years.

Sukhbir, a Lok Sabha member from Ferozepur who is now contesting from Jalalabad assembly segment, has recorded an increase of over Rs 100 crore in his assets. Whereas Manpreet, Congress MLA from Bathinda Urban and contesting from the same constituency, has declared an increase of over Rs 32 crore in his assets between 2017 and 2022 assembly polls. Manpreet’s father and former MP late Gurdas Singh Badal was brother of Sukhbir’s father and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Other three re-contesting MLAs among the top five with highest increase in assets include Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) MLA from Sunam Aman Arora, former chief minister and Punjab Lok Congress(PLC) president contesting from Patiala Capt Amarinder Singh and Congress MLA from Nawanshahr now contesting as independent candidate Angad Singh.

Analyses of the self-sworn affidavits of these 101 re-contesting MLAs by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Punjab Election Watch also reveal that assets of 78 MLAs (77%) have increased ranging between 2% and 2,954% and assets of 21 MLAs (21%) have decreased ranging from -2% to -74%.

It has also come to fore that the average assets growth of the 101 re-contesting MLAs between the Punjab assembly elections in 2017 and 2022 is Rs 2.76 crore(21%). The assets growth was an average of Rs 13.34 crore in 2017 and has now increased to Rs 16.10 crore in 2022.

Highest Annual Income

As per the last income tax return, AAP MLA from Sunam Aman Arora has the highest annual income of Rs 5.66 crore, followed by cabinet minister Manpreet Singh Badal (Rs 3.15 crore), SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal (Rs 3.08 crore), Congress MLA from Shahkot Hardev Singh Laddi (Rs 2.22 crore) and Congress MLA from Ferozepur City Parminder Singh Pinki (Rs 1.07 crore).

Highest Percentage Shift in Assets

In terms of percentage, AAP MLA from Talwandi Sabo Baljinder Kaur recorded the highest increase of 2,954% in her assets in the last five years. She had shown assets worth Rs 3.65 lakh in 2017 state assembly polls and her assets have now increased to over Rs 1.11 crore. Before joining politics, Baljinder was lecturer of English at Mata Gujri College in Fatehgarh Sahib.

Whereas the Congress MLA from Ludhiana East Sanjeev Talwar, owner of spinning mills and other business, has shown the highest decrease of 74% in his assets in the last five years. He had shown assets worth over Rs 11.50 crore in 2017 which have reduced to Rs 2.98 crore in 2022.

Highest Decrease in Assets

Cabinet minister and Congress MLA from Kapurthala Rana Gurjeet Singh has shown the highest decrease of Rs 44.25 crore(Rs 169 crore to Rs 125 crore) in his assets in the last five years followed by Bholath MLA and now Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira of Rs 16.49 crore (Rs 66 crore to Rs 50 crore) and SAD MLA from Majitha Bikram Singh Majithia of Rs 13.15 crore (Rs 25 crore to Rs 12 crore).

Highest Average Increase in Assets

Despite being out of power for the last five years, 14 re-contesting MLAs of the SAD recorded the highest average increase of assets amounting to Rs 8 crore (49.91%). AAP has 10 re-contesting MLAs with an average increase of assets worth Rs 3 crore and the ruling Congress party has 67 re-contesting MLAs who recorded an average increase of assets worth Rs 1 crore.

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