The Telegraph
Saturday , April 5 , 2014
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Campaign gathers momentum
6 crorepatis join fray in Tripura

Agartala, April 4: Six of the 25 candidates in Tripura’s Lok Sabha seats, including the CPM candidate for East Tripura seat, are crorepatis.

According to a report compiled by Election Watch and Tripura unit of Association for People’s Democratic Rights (APDR) based on the affidavits filed by the candidates, the CPM candidate for East Tripura (Scheduled Tribe) seat and former minister Jiten Chowdhury has assets valued at Rs 1.13 crore.

However, among the six crorepatis, Chowdhury is the poorest.

Orthopaedic surgeon and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate in West Tripura, Salil Saha, has net assets worth Rs 4.11 crore.

He is followed by Congress candidate for the West Tripura seat and former vice-chancellor of Tripura Central University, Arunoday Saha, who has net assets worth Rs 3.38 crore.

Retired headmaster and Congress candidate for the East Tripura (ST) seat, Sachitra Debbarma, is an indigenous crorepati with Rs 2.85 crore in assets.

Srijesh Debbarma, an indigenous candidate fighting as an Independent in the West Tripura seat, has declared net assets worth Rs 1.5 crore based on his landed property, including rubber plantations.

Former director of All India Radio (AIR), Agartala, and president of regional IPFT party in East Tripura, Narendra Chandra Debbarma, is another crorepati who is marginally richer than his CPM rival and former minister Jiten Chowdhury. Debbarma declared net assets worth Rs 1,13,65000.

Of the 25 candidates, 21 have not submitted details of their income tax returns and altogether nine do not even have PAN cards.

“This is because the indigenous candidates are exempted from paying income tax as long as they are in the Northeast. This may be the reason why income tax details have not been furnished by many,” said a source in the election department.

The three poorest candidates in the election belong to the indigenous section. Among the three poorest candidates, Falguni Debbarma of CPI (M-L) in East Tripura has a net worth of only Rs 3,500 while Subarnamala Debbarma, candidate of Amra Bangali party in East Tripura, has admitted net worth of Rs 7,485.

Independent candidate in East Tripura Patal Kanya Jamatya, who was expelled from the INPT, also belongs to a peasant family and has declared net worth of Rs 30,000.

The CPM candidate in West Tripura, Sankar Prasad Datta, who attacked East Agartala police station in June 2013 with his supporters, is facing a criminal case while the president of newly formed Tripura Gramin Vikash Congress (TGVC), Subal Bhowmik, is facing a murder charge.

“I was framed in the case by the CPM and police in 2009 at the time of panchayat election but I am sure I will get justice,” said Bhowmik.

The IPFT candidate in West Tripura, Benoy Debbarma also faces a criminal case.