Times of india
Manvir Saini
Even as claims of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda about Haryana to be number one in terms of per capita income continue to be debated, he is right on at least one count -- 90% of candidates fielded by ruling Congress in the state assembly elections are crorepatis (multi-millionaires) as per data released by political watchdog, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), on Wednesday. 

ADR data further revealed that moneybags continue to be drawn to politics. Of the 1,343 candidates standing for Haryana assembly elections, 563, or 42%, are crorepatis. This is up from 32% crorepati candidates in 2009. The average assets per candidate are Rs 4.54 crore, up from 2009's Rs 2.05 crore. The top three richest candidates are Abhay Singh Chautala and Rohtas from INLD and Vipul Goyal of BJP.

As compared to 2009 Haryana assembly polls, the percentage of candidates facing criminal charges has come down in these elections. ADR chief Jagdeep Chhokar termed it as a positive sign. Referring to crorepatis, Chhokar said the average wealth of candidates had gone up and his team was working to ascertain if they had added to their assets in the past five years or if the value of their assets had appreciated.

According to the ADR report, 81 out of 90 candidates fielded by Congress are crorepatis. The number of candidates in fray facing criminal cases has come down slightly, as per the report. Out of 1,343 candidates, 94 (7%) have criminal cases against them, whereas in 2009 elections, 109 out of 1,109 contestants were facing criminal cases, which is 9%.

More than half the candidates in fray are in the 25-45 years age group. As per ADR data, 719 (53.5%) out of 1,343 contestants are aged between 25 and 45 years. Gopal Kanda's Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) has fielded maximum candidates in this age group. According to the ADR report, 50 out of 75 HLP candidates are in the 25-45 age bracket while 43 out of 85 candidates fielded by BSP are in this age group.

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