2 crorepati candidates in fray for panchayat polls

Kendrapara: At least two crorepatis are in the fray for the zilla parishad election in Kendrapara district, while over 12 other candidates contesting the panchayat elections own assets worth over Rs 50 lakh, according to affidavits furnished by the contestants to the state election commission.

The two crorepatis are among the 117 candidates in Kendrapara zilla parishad poll battle, contesting either under party symbols or as independents.

BJD candidate Pradipta Gahana (38) from zilla parishad zone-25 in Marshaghai block is the richest of the candidates in the district owning movable and immovable assets worth Rs 2.2 crore.

Gahan, a businessman, owns two luxury vehicles, seven trucks besides jewellery, savings, insurance policies, houses and agricultural and housing plots. However, he owes loans of Rs 1.68 crore to banking and financial institutions.

42-year-old Jyosnarani Jena, a housewife contesting from zilla parishad zone 8 in Kendrapara and a BJD candidate, possesses assets worth Rs 2.1 crore which include two housing plots at Bhubaneswar and a luxury vehicle worth Rs 8.5 lakh.

Her liability to banks and financial institutions are Rs 84 lakh, according to the affidavit.

More than 12 candidates in the fray own property worth over Rs 50 lakh or above. Swapnarani Khandua (36), BJP nominee from zilla parishad zone-16 in Pattamundai block, is in personal and joint possession of Rs 82 lakh of movable and immovable assets.

The average asset per candidate is Rs 19.11 lakh but about 12 of them own nothing or negligible assets, according to the affidavits.

There has, however, been a drop in the number of candidates facing trial in criminal cases this time. Of the 117 candidates in the fray the 32 Zilla Parishad zones, only eight of them have declared criminal cases against themselves.

Four candidates having criminal cases are from Congress, while two are from ruling BJD. BJP accounts for one such candidate and an independent aspirant has declared criminal cases against him.

The offences range from house-trespassing, dowry-related torture, criminal intimidation, criminal act done with common intention, kidnapping, theft, voluntarily causing injury by deadly weapons, obscene act, wrongful restraint, extortion, habitually dealing in stolen property, cheating, house-breaking during night, outraging the modesty of woman, causing hurt by act of endangering life or personal safety of others, the affidavits said.