Ninth and finalphase of polling today
She may not have much cash in hand, but 56-year-old Shamali Das, contesting elections from both Jadavpur and Kolkata South in West Bengal as an Independent candidate, has declared assets worth ₹2,000 crore — this makes her the richest candidate in the ninth and last phase of polling on Monday.
In fact, Das is the second-richest candidate after Nandan Nilekani of the Congress (₹7,700 crore) from Bangalore South. The third-richest candidate, Anil Kumar Sharma (₹849 crore), belongs to Janata Dal (United) and is contesting from Jehanbad, Bihar.Land mafia
According to reports, Das, a widow, belongs to the erstwhile zamindar family of Rani Rashmoni Das, the founder of the 19the century Dakshineswar Temple in Kolkata. It is said that Das has only a few thousand rupees cash in hand, and is in the fray to primarily “protect her property from the land mafia.”
In the polling on May 12, Das, along with JD(U) candidate and film director Prakash Jha (₹92 crore assets) and Bahujan Samaj Party’s Shah Alam (₹70 crore), is among the top three of the 25 candidates who have declared assets above ₹10 crore.
There are a total of 171 crorepatis among the 601 candidates in this phase, whose affidavits were analysed by the Association of Democratic Reforms.
Party-wise, BJP tops in the number of rich candidates with 23 out of (59 per cent) 39 candidates having declared assets over ₹1 crore, followed by Congress with 18 (49 per cent) out of 37 candidates; Aam Aadmi Party with 12 (48 per cent) out of 25 candidates; and BSP with 18 (45 per cent) out of 40 candidates declaring themselves as crorepatis.
Among the three States where elections are being held on Monday, Bihar has the highest percentage of crorepatis (34 per cent) and those with criminal background (42 per cent), followed by Uttar Pradesh with 19 per cent and 29 per cent, and West Bengal with 14 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively.