Hindustan Times
Indo-Asian News Service

The wealth of West Bengal legislators recontesting the assembly polls has increased at an "alarming rate" and, in one case, by an astonishing 86,030 perc ent, according to a study by an election watchdog. “After making a comparative study of assets of the legislators as declared by them during 2006 and recently while filing their nominations for the first and second phase of assembly polls, it was found that their assets have grown at an alarming rate, in most cases in over 100 percent,” said coordinator of West Bengal Election Watch (WBEW) Biplab Halim.

In the first phase, 23 legislators are recontesting. Their average assets in 2006 were around Rs.21 lakh, while in 2011, they have increased to over Rs.34 lakh.

In the second phase, 28 legislators are re-contesting whose average assets in 2006 were around Rs.13.7 lakh. Now, it has increased to Rs.30.1 lakh.

According to the study, among the recontesting legislators in the first phase, Dasarath Tirkey of Revolutionary Socialist party (RSP) tops the list in terms of percentage increase of assets.

In 2006, he had assets worth Rs.115,654, this time it's worth Rs.1,066,293, an increase of 822 percent! Tirkey was followed Mafuja Khatun of CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) with 605 percent, Akshay Thakur of Forward Bloc with 560 percent and Biswanath Chowdhury of RSP with 309 percent respectively.

“In rupee terms, the maximum growth in assets has been for Minister for Correctional Homes Biswanath Chowdhury of RSP. His assets have grown by over Rs.4,381,418. He is followed by CPI (Communist Party of India) nominee Sreekumar Mukherjee (Rs.4,335,137), Akshay Thakur (Rs.4,138,341) and Tamser Ali of CPI-M (Rs.3,287,202 lakh),” said Halim.

In the second phase, the average assets of the 28 re-contesting candidates as declared in their affidavits are Rs.3,002,183. In 2006, they are Rs.13,66,791, a growth of over 120 percent.

“In rupee terms, the maximum growth in assets has been for Apurbu Sarkar of Congress. His assets in 2006 were Rs.765,762 and in 2011, it has jumped to Rs.13,956,850, an increase of 1,723 percent! He is followed by Mainul Haque and Abu Hena of Congress, and Anisur Rahaman of CPI-M,” said Malay Sengupta, former Chief Justice (Sikkim High Court), who is also an executive member of WBEW.

“In percentage, the maximum increase in assets was recorded by Bivas Chakraborty of Forward Bloc. His assets have grown by 86,030 percent. He is followed by Kallol Khan of Trinamool with 6,448 percent growth and Subenoy Ghosh of CPI-M with 2,923 percent,” said Halim.

The study also revealed that altogether five legislators out of 51 contesting in first and second phases have recorded decrease in their assets, compared to their previous declaration.

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