The Hindu: Business Line
New Delhi

Almost 65 per cent of the total candidates in the election fray in Punjab are crorepatis.

The wealthiest is Ms Karan Kaur, Congress candidate from Muktasar, with declared assets worth Rs 128.4 crore, followed by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal with Rs 90.8 crore and Mr Kewal Singh Dhillon of the Congress with Rs 78.5 crore.

According to an analysis of 408 affidavits by the Punjab Election Watch (PEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 266 candidates are crorepatis.

“In the main political parties, the number of crorepatis is around 85 per cent. It is obvious that parties give tickets to only the wealthy,” said Mr Prof Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member ADR, in a release.

Of the candidates of main political parties from across 117 constituencies in Punjab, 61 had declared pending criminal cases against them, of which 21 were facing serious charges such as murder, kidnapping etc, said the organisations, which are working for electoral reforms.

Among the parties for the Assembly polls on January 30, Congress had given tickets to 23 candidates with pending criminal cases, Shiromani Akali Dal has 18, Bahujan Samaj Party nine and Punjab People’s Party seven.

All political parties also fare poorly on fielding women candidates. Only 29 or 7 per cent of the total candidates are women, with 10 fielded by the Congress, 10 by SAD, four PPP and two each by the BJP and BSP.

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