Of the total of 997 candidates contesting the first phase of Gujarat Assembly polls, 198 nominees, belonging to different political parties as well as independents, are 'crorepatis', an analysis of election affidavits done by two NGOs has found. Sixtyfive of these 'crorepati' candidates have declared assets worth over Rs 5 crore, while 60 others have shown movable and immovable assets in the range of Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore, it said. The analysis of the 923 candidates of the total 977 in the fray for the first phase of the polls was conducted by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Gujarat Election Watch. It was today published in the form of a report. While the ruling BJP has given tickets to 76 'crorepati' candidates, the opposition Congress has fielded 60 such nominees. They are followed by seven from the NCP, six from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and two from the BSP. The report said that 25 independent candidates also came in this category.
The remaining 'crorepati' candidates belong to lesser known parties or outfits. Though the 977 candidates are in the fray for the 89 Assembly seats going for polls in the first phase on December 9, affidavits of 54 candidates could not be analysed as they were either badly scanned or incomplete, the report said. "The analysis revealed that 21 per cent candidates, that is 198 out of 923, are crorepatis, as each one of them has declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore," the report said. Congress candidate for Rajkot-West seat, Indranil Rajyaguru, who would take on BJP candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, has emerged as the wealthiest candidate with declared assets worth Rs 141.22 crore, it said. Rajyaguru is followed by BJP candidate for Botad seat Saurabh Patel. Patel, who is former a Gujarat finance minister, has declared assets worth Rs 123.78 crore, the report said. BJP candidate Dhanjibhai Patel of Wadhwan seat is in the third place with declared assets of Rs 113.47 crore. Though Dhanjibhai, chairman of Surendrangar-based Makson Group of companies, has emerged third in the 'crorepati' list, he is on the top in terms of annual income. According to the last Income Tax returns, the combined income of Dhanjibhai and his family was Rs 113.47 crore. He is followed by BJP candidate from Dwarka seat, Pabubha Manek (Rs 88.42 crore), and BJP's Botad candidate Saurabh Patel (Rs 123.78 crore). The report said eight candidates have declared that their annual income is more than Rs one crore. While 847 candidates, out of total 923, have declared their source of income in their affidavits, 76 candidates did not mention anything about the issue, such as whether it was from business or farming or from any other activity. In a sharp contrast, two independent candidates -- Prakash Unadkat of Porbandar and Rafik Hussain of Somnath -- have declared that they have zero assets, be it movable or immovable. The report also showed that as many as 14 candidates, including those belonging to the BJP and the Congress, who have assets worth over Rs 1 crore, have not declared whether they are filing Income Tax returns or not. In terms of educational qualifications, the report said that 580, out of the 923 nominees, have either passed only 5th, 8th, 10th or 12th class. Seventysix candidates mentioned that they were only literate, while 17 others declared that they were illiterate. According to the report, of the 923 candidates, 57 were women. Almost 40 per cent (of the 923) candidates, that is 367, were in the age group of 25 and 40 years, 473 (51 per cent) between ages of 41 and 60, while 82 of them were between 61 and 80.
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