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New Punjab assembly a 'crorepati' club

Sunday March 11, 2012 07:31:28 PM, Jaideep Sarin, IANS

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Chandigarh: When the newly-elected Punjab assembly meets for the first time later this month, it will look more like a millionaires club than a legislature. The 117-member house has no less than 101 crorepatis, data analysed by NGO Punjab Election Watch (PEW) has revealed.

The affidavits submitted by Punjab politicians who have made it to the assembly in the 2012 elections, revealed that the new assembly has 86 percent legislators who are crorepatis instead of the 66 percent crorepati legislators elected in the 2007 assembly poll. Only 77 legislators in the 2007 elections were crorepatis.

Congress legislator from Barnala seat and industrialist Kewal Singh Dhillon showed the highest increase in assets - from Rs.6.83 crore in 2007 to Rs.78.51 crore in 2012.

While the largest number of crorepati legisalators, 47, are from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, 41 are from the opposition Congress. The Akali Dal has 56 and the Congress has 46 legislators in the new house.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), alliance partner of the Akalis in the government, has 10 crorepatis among its 12 legislators. Three independent legislators are also crorepatis.

The PEW said Sunday that among major parties, the average assets per legislator in the Congress party was Rs.13.97 crore followed by Rs.7.93 crore for Akali Dal and Rs.4.68 crore for BJP.

The average assets of a legislator in the assembly came to Rs.9.92 crore. This was only Rs.5.73 crore in the 2007 assembly.

Sitting legislators who recontested the 2012 assembly poll saw a growth of Rs.3.43 crore average growth in their assets in the five years (2007-12). The average growth in assets was nearly 60 percent.

Out of 117 legislators analysed, four have not declared their income tax permanent account number (PAN) details. Over 10 per cent lawmakers have declared that they have never filed Income Tax returns.

Cabinet minister and son-in-law of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon (Akali Dal) reported an increase of assets by over Rs 30.41 crore. His assets grew from Rs.20.81 crore in 2007 to Rs.51.23 crore in 2012,

Akali Dal president and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is the son of the chief minister, had an asset increase of Rs.22.87 crore. His assets grew from Rs 67.98 crore in 2007 to Rs 90.86 crore in 2012.

The PEW analysis showed that the highest percentage increase - 1,256 percent - in assets was Congress legislator Sunil Kumar Jakhar. His assets rose from Rs.50.45 lakh in 2007 to Rs. 6.84 crore in 2012. He is the son of former Lok Sabha speaker Balram Jakhar.

Dhillon showed an increase of nearly 1,050 percent in assets in five years.

The PEW findings also revealed that 19 percent (22) of the new legislators had criminal cases against them. The Congress and Akali Dal have 11 and nine of these legislators. Some of the charges include murder, kidnapping and extortion.

Fifty-five percent of the legislators in the new assembly are graduates and above.

Out of 93 women candidates who contested, only 14 won. They constitute 12 percent of the assembly.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at




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