A state of crorepati MLAs

Two-fold rise in assets

By Avishek Sengupta in Guwahati
  • Published 21.05.16
  •  
A section of the newly elected BJP legislators at a meeting in Guwahati on Friday. (PTI) 

Guwahati, May 20: Assam will see a two-fold rise in elected candidates who are crorepatis. In 2011, the Assembly had 47 crorepati legislators in the 126-member House.

The figure has risen to 94, going by the affidavits of the candidates who won the Assembly elections, a report compiled by Association of Democratic Reform and National Election Watch said.

The report was compiled from the financial and educational backgrounds, criminal records and other details revealed by the candidates through sworn affidavits, according to the Supreme Court's order. The results of the two-phase elections were declared yesterday. The BJP won 60 seats, the Congress 26, the AGP 14, the BPF 12, the AIUDF 13 seats and an Independent wrested one.

Of the 126 newly elected candidates, 41 were re-elected, and on an average, their total assets have increased by 86 per cent since the last time they contested. The BPF's eight re-elected candidates had the highest surge in assets of 200 per cent (Rs 2.46 crore from 81.94 lakh in 2011).

In a party-wise segregation, the report revealed: "Thirty-four (57 per cent) of the 60 successful candidates were from the BJP, 16 (62 per cent) out of 26 from the Congress, 10 (71 per cent) of 14 from the AGP, seven (58 per cent) of 12 from the BPF, and five (39 per cent) out of 13 from the AIUDF have declared assets valued more than Rs 1 crore." "Altogether 74 elected candidates have declared their financial wealth...it is more than Rs 1 crore, while the rest 22 showed their worth as equal to Rs 1 crore," said Tasaduk Ariful Hussain, the Assam coordinator of the Association of Democratic Reform, said.

Altogether 29 (23.02 per cent) elected candidates have revealed their worth above Rs 20 lakh but below Rs 1 crore, while three (2.38 per cent) revealed their worth to be below Rs 20 lakh. The richest successful candidate is the AGP's Naren Sonowal who won the Naharkatiya constituency in Dibrugarh district and has assets worth Rs 33.95 crore, while the poorest is BJP's Terash Gowalla who won from the Duliajan constituency, also in Dibrugarh, and has assets worth Rs 8 lakh.

According to the income tax returns, the state BJP's election committee convener, Himanta Biswa Sarma, has the highest income of Rs 1.33 crore in the fiscal 2014-15. The report also revealed that 14 (11 per cent) successful candidates have criminal cases against them. Of these, 10 are accused of serious offences such as murder, attempt to murder, rape, molestation and criminal conspiracy.

"Seven (12 per cent) out of 60 successful candidates from the BJP, five (19 per cent) of 26 MLAs from the Congress, one (8 per cent) of 13 MLAs from the AIUDF and the lone elected Independent candidate have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits," the report revealed.

The report also revealed that 42 successful candidates are under-graduates, while 42 are graduates, 28 are post-graduates and one has a doctoral degree. However, the gender disparity in the Assembly is likely to remain. The Assembly had 12 women members but only eight women have been elected this time.

"There has been a surge in young candidates winning. Sixty-five candidates are below 50, of whom 15 are in the age group of 31 to 40, while one is below 30. Only two candidates are between 71 and 80," said Hussain.

Demand: The Bodoland Students Union wants the new government to solve unemployment and safeguard the indigenous people.

In a statement, the Union secretary Khwrwmdao Brahma said, "We hope the new government will solve the genuine problems of the state such as unemployment, infiltration from across the border, flood and security to the indigenous people and work to bring peace and prosperity among the people."