Deccan Chronicle
Representational Photo — DC archive
Representational Photo — DC archive

Hyderabad: A hike in the average assets of mainstream political party candidates contesting in the upcoming elections, as shown in their affidavits, indicates that more and more rich people are now in the fray. The Telugu Desam recorded a three-fold increase with the average assets increasing from Rs 23 crore in 2009 to Rs 68 crore this year.

The richest candidate this time has declared his assets to be Rs 528 crore. In 2009, it was Rs 173 crore. The average assets of the Congress candidates increased from Rs 12 crore to Rs 30 crore, while in the case of TRS candidates, the average went up from Rs 5 crore to Rs 43 crore. In the BJP, the hike was from Rs 1.45 crore to Rs 26 crore.

A study conducted by the Association of Democratic Rights and the AP Election Watch based on the affidavits filed by 265 MP candidates across 17 constituencies also revealed that the number of “crorepatis” has increased from 23 per cent to 28 per cent. As per the affidavits, out of the 265 candidates, 74 are crorepatis.

“This indicates that not just existing politicians are getting richer, but more rich individual are joining politics. Politics has now become a rich man’s game and has become more like an investment,” said Rao Chelukani from the AP Election Watch.

The number of candidates who declared assets with more than Rs 100 crore assets increased from just one person in the last election to six people this year. Candidates with declared assets above Rs 50 crore increased from three people to nine. Breaking this down further, the study stated that there are 14 crorepatis in TRS, 13 in Congress, eight in TDP and six in BJP.

“Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, the TRS candidate from Chevella, has declared assets worth Rs 528 crore, followed by Nama Nageswara Rao, the TD candidate from Khammam with Rs 338 crore. Standing third is Dr Gaddam Vivekananda, the Congress candidate from Peddapalle, with Rs 266 crore. Sometimes, one candidate with very high assets can increase the overall average assets of candidates from a certain party,” said Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, member, National Election Watch.

This pan India study also declared that the percentage of candidates who have declared criminal cases against them has increased from 11 per cent to 18 per cent.

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