Subadh Kumar Nayak

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is the second most richest candidate in the State. Patnaik followed Congress candidate Bobby Mohanty who topped the richest chart.

Patnaik who is contesting from two assembly constituencies - Hinjli and Bijepur - has declared assets worth Rs 63 crore. And with a declared assets worth Rs 106 crore , Congress Baramba candidate Bobby Mohanty emerged the richest contestant in 2019 polls.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Niranjan Patnaik, who is contesting from Bhandaripokhari and Ghasipura constituencies, is the third richest legislator candidate with property worth over Rs 60 crore.

Such significant revelations were to the fore on Sunday when the Odisha Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) released a detailed report on the profiles of candidates contesting in the ongoing State Assembly polls.

The ADR report finds that a high of 304 crorepatis are in the poll fray. And it seems ruling BJD is the party of crorepatis as a high of 97 candidates belong to the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which is a whopping 66 per cent of total crorepati netas. The BJP with 75 or 52 per cent and Congress with 73 or 53 per cent share in the crorepati list finshed second and third, respectively.

In another nagging development, the ADR Election Watch report revealed that number of candidates having criminal cases pending has increased to 30 per cent in 2019 as compared to 23 per cent in 2014 elections.  Significantly, around 7 candidates convicted in different criminal cases are in the poll fray.

When several criminal cases are pending against 332 candidates, grave charges of murder and kidnapping allegations have been leveled against 257 candidates. Murder cases have been registered against 9 candidates. The report further revealed that police have registered attempt to murder case against 63 candidates in in fray in the 2019 elections.

When 33 per cent women reservation in Assemblies and Parliament has been flagged by the ruling BJD in a big way before the 2019 elections, the revelation is only 112 women MLA candidates are in the fray in the 2019. And BJD has fielded mere 19 women candidates, followed by Congress (13) and BJP (12), respectively. Among the total 112 women candidates, 30 have passed class five and 83 have cleared class 8th.

The ADR Election Watch report was prepared based on the affidavit s of 1,121 candidates in 2019 poll fray.