Iftikhar Gilani
New Delhi

Astounding as it may seem, the average assets of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MLAs contesting this election in Tamil Nadu have increased by 184 percent.

Not too far behind, the assets of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) candidates have increased by 108 percent. A cursory comparison of affidavits filed by the DMK candidates in 2006 and now in 2011 shows an increase of Rs 3.6 crore in the assets of all the 48 candidates seeking re-election.

A national election watchdog has calculated that the average wealth of DMK candidate was Rs 3 crore in 2006, which has now increased to Rs 5 crore.

Vasanta Kumar of the Congress has shown maximum growth in his assets by over Rs 97 crore, followed by Jayalalithaa of the AIADMK, with an asset growth of Rs 26 crore. R Gandhi of the DMK has increased assets by Rs 21 crore.

Analysing the data of 98 MLAs re-contesting elections, the National Election Watch, a compendium of more than 1,200 NGOs, has found an average growth in assets of these MLAs of 195 percent.

Further, 138 candidates, i.e. 19.1 percent (out of 724 analysed), were found having criminal records. Out of these, 75 candidates have cases of murder and attempt to murder against them. All major parties have given tickets to candidates with pending criminal cases. The AIADMK has 50 of the 160 analysed (31 percent), the DMK has 26 of 123 (21 percent), the PMK has 16 of 30 (53 percent), and the Congress has 7 out of 62 (11 percent) with pending criminal cases.

U Thaniyarasu of the AIADMK and M Muruganandam of the BJP have five cases of attempt to murder and one murder case against them.

The DMK has the maximum crorepatis with 67 percent, the Congress has 63 percent, and the AIADMK has 54 percent.

Curiously, S Vishwanathan, an independent candidate from Gudalor, and Vetrivel, a BJP candidate from Aruppukkottai have declared zero assets. As many as 295 candidates have declared that they have never filed income tax returns.

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