The Times of India

HYDERABAD: A staggering 74 of the total 265 candidates from Andhra Pradesh contesting the Lok Sabha elections are crorepatis. The wealth of our politicians are rising every year, so much so that the number of croreopatis has gone up from 20% in 2009 to 28% in this elections.

The average assets per candidate is valued at Rs 8.49 crore this elections, a steep rise from Rs 2.50 crore during 2009, according to Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and State Election Watch, a group of NGOs striving for free and fair elections.

The Telugu Desam Party has the highest number of crorepati candidates (89%) followed by Telangana Rashtra Samithi (82%), closely followed by Congress (81%). As many as 50% of Aam Aadmi Party candidates have assets worth more than Rs 1 crore.

The 'crorepati club' is headed by Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, TRS candidate from the Chevella Lok Sabha constituency with assets worth a mind-boggling Rs 528 crore, followed by Nama Nageswara Rao who is TDP candidate for Khammam with assets totalling to Rs 338 crore. The third richest candidate is Gaddam Vivekanand (Congress) from Peddapalle with assets worth Rs 266 crore.

"There are six candidates with assets worth over Rs 100 crore this elections as against just one in 2009," said D Rakesh Reddy, state coordinator, State Election Watch and ADR.

Alarmingly, the assets of some candidates have doubled and tripled in the last five years. Take for instance Nama Nageswara Rao. He had declared assets of Rs 173 crore in 2009 but his assets sharply increased to Rs 338 crore now. Similarly, G Vivekanand had declared assets worth Rs 72 crore in 2009 but, five years later, they have risen to a whopping Rs 266 crore.

Among major parties, the average assets of candidates across political parties have risen dramatically. The average value of assets of 17 TRS candidates is Rs 43.44 crore (Rs 5 crore during 2009), nine TDP candidates is Rs 68.07 crore (Rs 23 crore in 2009) and 16 Congress candidates is Rs 30.61 crore (Rs 12 crore in 2009).

Among the new parties, 13 YSR Congress candidates have the average assets of Rs 4.29 crore, eight BJP candidates have Rs 26.73 crore (Rs 1.45 crore in 2009), and eight AAP candidates have average assets worth Rs 1.47 crore.

Predictably, the analysis of individual affidavits of the candidates shows that 51% of candidates have not declared income tax details and 23% did not declare their PAN details.

As far as their criminal background is concerned, 49 candidates (18%) have declared criminal cases against them. Of these, 12% are serious cases like attempt to murder, crimes against women and kidnapping among others. "11 out of 17 constituencies in AP have at least three candidates with criminal cases. Secunderabad and Peddapalle constituencies have five candidates each with cases," said Rao Chelikani, of State Election Watch.

According to Rajendra Prasad, state coordinator, ADR, disclosures in the affidavits are voluntary and there are many instances where candidates have concealed information. "There is no legal provision to take action against candidates who do not disclose all the details," said Prasad.

© Association for Democratic Reforms
Privacy And Terms Of Use
Donation Payment Method