Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik wealthiest candidate in phase II of assembly polls

Odisha’s 2019 Assembly elections are running concurrently with the Lok Sabha elections in the state, with the second phase on Thursday, April 18. The Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) released a report presenting data gleaned from analysis of self-sworn affidavits of 241 of the 244 candidates contesting in phase II of the assembly elections, covering 35 constituencies across nine districts. 

naveen patnaik

Criminal background of candidates
84 of the 241 candidates, or 35%, have declared that they have criminal cases against them. 68 candidates, or 28% of the total analysed have “serious criminal cases” against them; per the report, these are defined as involving offences for which the maximum punishment is five years’ imprisonment or higher, non-bailable offences, electoral offences, offences related to losses to the exchequer, offences that are related to assault, murder, kidnap, or rape, offences that are mentioned in the Representation of the People Act, and offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

When considering political parties, 21 of 35 candidates analysed from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had criminal cases against them. This figure was 17 of 31 candidates analysed from the Indian National Congress (INC), or 53%. For candidates analysed from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), this number was 13 of 35, or 37%, and for Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidates analysed, it was four of 23, or 17%.

18 of 35 BJP candidates analysed, 10 of 32 INC candidates analysed, 11 of 35 BJD candidates analysed, and four of 23 BSP candidates have “serious criminal cases” against them. The ADR report has termed 14 constituencies “red alert constituencies,” because they have three or more candidates with criminal cases filed against them.

Financial background of candidates
13 of the 241 candidates (5%) analysed are worth Rs. 5 crores or more, while 24 (10%) are worth between Rs. 2 crores and Rs. 5 crores. The majority of the candidates are worth between Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 2 crores. 61 (25%) candidates have assets worth between Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 50 lakh, and 61 (25%) candidates have assets worth between Rs. 50 lakh and Rs. 2 crores. 82 (35%) candidates are worth Rs. 10 lakh.

The wealthiest candidate is current Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of the BJD, with total assets worth more than Rs. 63 crores. According to ADR calculations, Narayan Vesra of the BSP has the lowest assets, at around Rs. 8,000. Naba Kishore Das of the BJD, who has declared the third highest assets (more than Rs. 33 crores), also has the highest liabilities, Rs. 21 crores.

Two independent candidates, Ananta Kanhar and Birendra Kumar Gouda, have declared that they have zero assets.

Of the 241 candidates analysed, 70, or 29%, are crorepatis, according the report. 21 of 35 BJD candidates, 20 of 35 BJP candidates, 13 of 32 INC candidates, and one of seven Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidates analysed have declared assets worth Rs. 1 crores or more.

Of the candidates analysed, the average assets per candidate for the BJD amount to Rs. 7.66 crores. This figure is Rs. 3.14 crores for the BJP, Rs. 1.17 crores for the INC, and Rs. 10.53 lakh for the BSP.

Candidates’ age, gender, and educational background
Per the ADR report, 15 candidates are aged between 25 and 30, and 42 candidates are aged between 31 and 40. The highest number of candidates–78–are aged between 41 and 50, and a significant portion–69–of the candidates are aged between 51 and 60. 31 candidates are aged between 61 and 70, with just five candidates aged between 71-80. One candidate has not provided their age.

47 candidates have said that they have passed the twelfth standard, and 39 candidates have said that they have passed the tenth standard. 53 candidates have declared themselves to be graduates, and 33 candidates have said they have professional graduate degrees. 32 candidates have declared that they have post-graduate degrees, and three candidates have said they have doctorates. Four candidates have declared that they are literate, and 18 candidates have said that they have passed the eighth standard.

Men make up the majority of the candidates in phase II of Odisha’s assembly elections; just 25 candidates of the 241 analysed, or 10.4%, are women.

The complete report may be read here:





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