Hindustan Times
HT Correspondent

The nine sitting Trinamool Congress MLAs who are seeking re-election have amassed wealth at double the rate of their CPI(M) counterparts, civil society organisation West Bengal Election Watch (WBEW) announced on Thursday after analysing the affidavits filed by these candidates during nomination.

While the wealth of the Trinamool Congress MLAs increased by 192% between 2006 and 2011, that of the CPI(M) MLAs rose by 93%, WBEW claimed at a media conference. The WBEW has also analysed the data furnished by 24 CPI(M) MLAs.

The assets of the Trinamool MLAs have increased by Rs50 lakh on an average during the past five years. "Trinamool candidate from the Maniktala constituency Sadhan Pande tops the list, with an increase of more than Rs1 crore," said coordinator of the WBEW Biplab Halim. In 2006, Pande's assets had stood at Rs1.28 crore. In 2011, these rose to Rs2.33 crore.

However, in percentage terms, controversial Trinamool Bhangar MLA Arabul Islam has left many behind, with his assets ballooning to Rs91 lakh in 2011 - from Rs8 lakh in 2006, a rise of 978%.

Jyotipriya Mallick, who is contesting the polls as a Trinamool candidate from Habra, possessed Rs5 lakh worth of assets in 2006, which has risen to Rs80 lakh in 2011.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's wealth increased from Rs15.42 lakh to Rs46.20 lakh between the same period - a rise of 200%.

The lone Revolutionary Socialist Party candidate, Subhas Naskar (irrigation minister), actually suffered a 46% dip in assets - from Rs33 lakh to Rs18 lakh.

The assets of MLAs who are re-contesting these elections in the third phase have increased by Rs25.4 lakh over the past five years - an increase of 125%.

The affidavits of the candidates reveal that 100 candidates out of the 280 who are contesting the elections have never filed their income-tax returns. And 55 of these 100 have not even provided their PAN details.

The richest candidate fighting the third phase of the Bengal polls is the Trinamool Congress's Kasturi Das, who is contesting from Maheshtala, with assets of Rs7.18 crore.

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