164 crorepatis in Delhi’s electoral fray

New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) The Delhi assembly elections this time is seeing a big number of rich candidates contesting the polls to help their party cross the magic figure.
In the 2015 Assembly poll, 143 candidates from the AAP, BJP and the Congress had assets worth Rs 1 crore or more. This time, the number of such candidates has swelled to 164, which is a nearly 11 per cent increase.
Also, 13 candidates have declared assets worth over Rs 50 crore — the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has six, Congress has four and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) three.
AAP’s Dharampal Lakra has assets worth Rs 292.1 crore, which makes him one of the richest candidates in the electoral fray. Four of the richest candidates have been fielded by the AAP.
Three candidates have declared assets close to Rs 80 crore.
Lakra is followed by Parmila Tokas, contesting for the RK Puram seat, who has declared assets worth Rs 80.8 crore in her own and her family’s name. Ram Singh Netaji, AAP’s Badarpur candidate, has matched Tokas in personal assets. Netaji, a two-time MLA, formerly with the Congress has declared total assets of Rs 80 crore. The AAP’s Raaj Kumar Anand, contesting from Patel Nagar, has declared assets worth Rs 76 crore.
Tokas will contest against the Congress’ Priyanka Singh, who is in the fifth position in the rich candidates’ list. Singh has declared assets of Rs 70.3 crore.
The BJP’s candidates are at the sixth, seventh and eighth in this list. Brahm Singh Tanwar from Chhatarpur declared assets worth Rs 66.3 crore, Anil Goyal from Krishna Nagar has declared Rs 64.1 crore and Sat Prakash Rana from Bijwasan has assets worth Rs 57.4 crore.
Close on their heels are the AAP’s candidates at ninth and tenth position.
Dhanwanti Chandela from Rajouri Garden has assets of Rs 56.9 crore, followed by Naresh Balyan from Uttam Nagar with Rs 56.3 crore.
Interestingly, AAP’s Chandela has also declared her wealth in jewellery — 5.9 kg gold worth Rs 2.3 crore and 2 kg silver worth about Rs 2 lakh.
At the other end of the wealth spectrum, five candidates have declared assets of Rs 1 lakh or less.
Former Delhi University Students’ Union president in 2017 from the Congress party, Rocky Tuseed has declared assets worth Rs 55,574. He is also the youngest candidate to contest the polls. Tuseed does not own any vehicle, jewellery, land or property.
Raj Kumar Dhillon, the BJP’s candidate from Kondli, is a shade richer than Tuseed. He has declared assets of Rs 55,900 including Rs 50,000 in cash besides Rs 1,000 in the bank and 100 gm silver. Dhillon resides in a Kalyanpuri slum and does not have any immovable assets.
AAP’s Rakhi Bidlan has declared assets worth Rs 76,421. In the 2015 election, she had declared assets of Rs 18,000.
Apart from the increase in wealth, candidates contesting the elections are older too. Narender Nath of the Congress (75) is the oldest candidate from Shahdara, followed by SC Vats (74) of the BJP from Shakur Basti, Ram Niwas Goel (72) of the AAP from Shahdara, and former Congress minister in the Delhi government Ashok Kumar Walia (71) from Krishna Nagar.
In 2015, the average age of the AAP candidates was 43.1 years, but it has now increased to 47.3. For the BJP, there is a marginal change in the average age of the contesting candidates, from 51.7 in 2015 it has shot up to 52.8. In contrast, the Congress party has registered a decline in fielding older candidates. From 53.3, the average age has come down to 51.2 years.
Twenty candidates below the age of 40 are contesting from the AAP; for the Congress it is 12, and the BJP has merely 6 candidates. Both the Congress and the BJP are fielding 25 candidates in the age group of 51-60. In the age groups of 41-50 and 51-60, the AAP has 21 candidates.
Voting for the 70-seat Delhi Assembly will take place on February 8 and the results will be declared on February 11.

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