The Times Of India
Sukhbir Siwach

CHANDIGARH: The debate may still be open on whether it helps being loaded with money during polls or not, but the fact is voters in Haryana have returned 65 crorepatis to the 90-member assembly. The outgoing House has 47.

According to data analysed by National Election Watch (NEW), a citizen group working for electoral reforms, a majority of the candidates in the fray were crorepatis — a staggering 51%. It also found that only 2.34% of the candidates with less than Rs 10 lakh of declared assets managed to get elected; 44% of those who won have Rs 10-crore and above assets.

Among those who make the crorepati list, 32 are from Congress, 19 from Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), 2 from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and 12 others. Topping the list is Congress's Venod Sharma, who won from Ambala City. The elder brother of Shyam Sunder Sharma, son-in-law of former President Shankar Dayal Sharma, Sharma's assets have shown a manifold increase — from Rs 9 crore to Rs 87 crore — in the last five years. The former minister's riches multiplied despite the tough time he faced during his son Manu Sharma's trial and conviction in the infamous Jessica Lal murder case. A businessman by profession, the 61-year-old Congress leader has movable assets of Rs 77 crore and Rs 10-crore worth immovable assets, including hotels and sugar mills.

MDLR group chairman Gopal Kanda, who won as an Independent from Sirsa, is second in the list with total assets of Rs 63 crore. Savitri Jindal — once declared India's richest woman by the Forbes magazine — is number three. She won the Hisar seat on Congress ticket. With an industrialist MP son, Naveen Jindal, she has disclosed movable property worth Rs 17.75 crore and immovable property worth Rs 25.94 crore, but does not own a car.

Only a handful of candidates with low assets have got elected to the House. The four who won on INLD ticket have declared assets of less than Rs five lakh, with Pirthi Singh, who won Narwana seat, being at the bottom of the rung with Rs 1.6 lakh assets. "If you have less than Rs 5 lakh assets, your chances of success are pretty slim," claimed Anil Bairwal, NEW national coordinator.

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