The Times Of India
Ashish Tripathi

LUCKNOW: UP might figure at the bottom of the development index in comparison to other states in the country, but it tops the charts when it comes to the number of criminal and crorepati candidates contesting byelections being held in seven states. Not only UP netas have the highest number of criminal cases pending against them and crores of "white" money in their accounts, the growth rate of their assets is also remarkable, despite recession and high inflation rate.

Sample this: As per the data released by the National Election Watch, a body of social organisations, on the basis of affidavits submitted at the time of nominations, maximum number of candidates with pending criminal charges are in UP. Of 317 candidates contesting bypolls in 31 assembly constituencies in seven states and a Lok Sabha seat in UP, 29 are facing criminal charges, of which 19 belong to UP. Similarly, maximum 16 crorepatis are in UP followed by three candidates in naxal hit and poverty stricken Chhattisgarh. In Jhansi, three candidates with criminal records are in the fray, maximum in a given constituency.

Firozabad, the lone Lok Sabha seat in the bypolls, is seeing a keen contest between Congress's Raj Babbar, SP's Dimple Yadav and BSP's SP Singh Baghel. If assets of these netas are matched, Babbar is a clear winner with assets worth Rs 11.70 crore. Significantly, in the Lok Sabha elections held six months back, Babbar's affidavit filed with nomination for Fatehpur Sikri seat showed his total assets to be Rs 10.95 crore. The affidavit also showed that Babbar had total liabilities of over Rs 1.67 crore. This means, in the last six months, he added not less than Rs one crore in his kitty.

Firozabad seat was vacated by SP state president Akhilesh Singh Yadav who had won from Kannauj as well. In the by-poll, Akhilesh has fielded his wife Dimple. The affidavit filed by Dimple for bypoll nominations shows that she has assets worth Rs 5.27 crore. These assets shown by the candidates are the total of what is owned by them and their spouse. Six months back Akhilesh had shown his total assets to be around Rs 4.44 crore with liabilities of Rs 15 lakh. This means that the assets of Yadav couple also increased by around Rs one crore in six months.

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