The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Panja has, Mamata has not

Calcutta, April 22: What car does Ajit Panja own' No one knows but Panja perhaps — not even the Election Commission.

If the poll panel wanted candidates to declare their assets for people to know the worth of their to-be representative, this may not be what it expected. For, Ajit Panja, the Trinamul Congress candidate from Calcutta Northeast, only declared in his affidavit the registration number of his vehicle — WBG-9842.

His party chief, Mamata Banerjee, doesn’t even own a car.

If heavyweights were measured in gold, Panja would certainly be worth more than his boss. The barrister from Lincoln’s Inn, Inns of Court, London, owns jewellery worth Rs 1.1 lakh including a diamond ring, a pearl ring, four gold rings, a gold chain with a pendent and stones.

Mamata owns 9 grams and 150 mgm of gold jewellery, worth Rs 4,850. If the two are measured in terms of cash in hand, Panja would again beat Mamata. He has Rs 20,390 and Mamata Rs 12,774 in hand.

Panja’s other assets include bank deposits — Rs 1,03,51,282; fixed deposits — Rs 16,71,790; RBI’s tax-free bonds — Rs 30,000,00; NSCs — Rs 9,02,400; and two LIC policies of Rs 1 lakh each. Panja also mentions Rs 98,939 as “other assets”.

For those who remember the times when Mamata’s academic record was an issue of debate for the Congress, which she was part of then, and the CPM, she has not declared herself a PhD.

Mamata went to the Survey Building in Alipore to file her nomination around 11.30 am with leaders like Mukul Roy, Partha Chatterjee, Subrata Bakshi and Gautam Basu.

The Trinamul chief mentioned in her affidavit that she passed her secondary examination from Deshbandhu Sishu Sikshalaya in 1970 and graduated from Yogamaya Devi College in 1974. She did her Masters from Calcutta University in 1977 (exams held in 1979), got an LLB degree from Jogesh Chandra Chowdhury College of Law under the same varsity in 1982 and did her BEd from Sri Sikshayatan in 1980.

Indira Mukherjee, known as Moushumi Chatterjee since her days in Bollywood, the Congress nominee to take on Panja, offered a lengthy list of assets. They add up to Rs 1,98,61,410. She owns an Accent and a Santro and two flats in Mumbai and mentions that the income-tax department seized Rs 50,000 from her.

Moushumi’s campaign manager Maitreyee Saha said on the electronic voting machine, her name would be Indira Mukherjee alias Moushumi Chatterjee. “Moushumi is her screen name and she became popular with it. There shouldn’t be a problem.”

Ghani papers

The returning officer of Malda, district magistrate Ashok Bala, today said Congress candidate A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury’s nomination papers will not be cancelled despite mistakes.

The affidavit filed by the 77-year-old had said he was 69 and graduated at the age of nine.

“The commission has a directive that an affidavit, once submitted, cannot be altered. But, even if there are mistakes in a declaration, the nomination isn’t cancelled,” Bala told a Congress delegation.

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