Chandigarh: That they
were super-rich was never in doubt but the top political
leadership in Punjab, especially from two families, are worth
nearly Rs.200 crore ($38.5 million) of declared wealth.
Affidavits submitted by the top politicos in Punjab while filing
their nominations to various seats for the state's Jan 30 assembly
polls have revealed that their riches are getting bigger and
So if the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal president and Deputy Chief
Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has declared assets of over Rs.76
crore, it has not come as a surprise to anyone.
His wife and Bathinda MP, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, is worth Rs.15.38
crore. Sukhbir is contesting for the Jalalabad assembly seat from
the border district of Ferozepur.
While the net declared wealth of the Badal couple alone is over
Rs.91.38 crore, they, ironically, do not even own a car. All that
Sukhbir has in the name of a vehicle is a tractor.
It is another matter that the Badals are owners of two
super-luxury hotels in Gurgaon city, adjoining national capital
New Delhi. The latest of the hotels is managed by the Oberoi group
and is touted as one of the top-of-the-line hotels in the country.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 84, the father of Sukhbir
Badal, with declared assets of nearly Rs.7 crore, is the poorest
member of the Badal clan.
Badal Senior is contesting for the Lambi assembly seat against his
younger brother Gurdas Badal of the Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP)
and first cousin Mahesinder Singh Badal of the Congress.
Sukhbir's brother-in-law and Harsimrat's brother, Bikram Singh
Majithia, who is a sitting legislator from Majitha near Amritsar,
has declared a net worth of Rs.11.21 crore.
Punjab Congress president and former chief minister Amarinder
Singh, who is contesting his traditional Patiala assembly seat,
has declared assets of Rs.45.74 crore.
Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Rajinder Kaur
Bhattal, who is the leader of the opposition in the outgoing
assembly, has declared assets of under Rs.3 crore.
Cricketer-turned-politician and Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu's
wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, has declared assets of Rs.2.38 crore.
Contesting from the Amritsar-east assembly constituency on the
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket, she pedalled her way on a
bicycle to the office of the returning officer Tuesday with her
husband and a few supporters.
Several other leading candidates from the Congress and the ruling
Akali Dal-BJP alliance are worth several millions. Congress
candidate from Jalandhar-north and former minister Avtar Henry has
declared assets of nearly Rs.14 crore.
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)