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From 'crorepatis' to poor, Kerala poll fray has them all

Wednesday April 06, 2011 03:56:58 PM, IANS

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Thiruvananthapuram: One candidate has an enviable Rs.15 crore in assets while another has a paltry Rs.1,000 to his name. Candidates for the Kerala assembly polls come with diverse financial hues.

The profiles of 355 candidates from three rival fronts were analysed by the Election Watch Kerala (EWK), a civil society initiative.

According to the figures released, the wealthiest of them all is Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) C. Udaya Bhaskar with a net worth of Rs.15.70 crore, contesting from Palakkad.

Close on his heels is the Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP) Mani C. Kappan, who is worth Rs.15 crore. Kappan is in the fray from Pala in Kottayam district. Indian Union Muslim League's M. Ali comes third with assets worth Rs.14.06 crore. Ali is a candidate in Perinthalmanna in Malappuram.

If the richest candidate is from the BJP, so is the 'poorest'.

V.A. Krishna Kumaran contesting from Chelakkara constituency has declared a mere Rs.1,000 in assets.

"The data that we are analysing is from the official website of the Chief Election Commission (CEC) and we had problems in getting the data as it is being updated regularly. So far, we could get the data on 355 candidates," said Sudhir Kumar, a dean at the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore and secretary of EWK.

Kumar said the group will analyse declarations of 418 candidates from three major political fronts.

The split of candidates with assets over Rs.1 crore is -- 13 from IUML, nine from the Congress, seven from the BJP, six each from the Communist Party of India-Marxist and Kerala Congress-Mani, three from the Socialist Janata Democratic and nine others from smaller parties.

At least 41 of the 121 BJP candidates analysed had one or more pending criminal cases. Thirty-three from the CPI-M and 36 from the Congress also had criminal cases pending.

At least 30 candidates have been charged in serious cases, the EKW said.

"We are working closely with the office of the CEC and in the coming days we expect to release the full list of candidates' profiles," added Kumar.



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