At least seven candidates in the first phase of West Bengal Assembly polls own assets worth less than Rs 1,000, with one of them having zero net worth.
Pabitra Bauri, fighting from Para (SC) constituency in Purulia district on a ticket by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), has no money neither in cash nor in bank account, according to the affidavit he submitted before the Election Commission. The 32-year-old social worker owns no other assets too nor has any liabilities as mentioned in his self-sworn affidavit.
“I am unemployed and involved in social work. I don’t have any money,” Bauri said admitting he was never active in politics till recently.
Four others from SUCI (C) and two from BSP have net worth less than a thousand rupees, according to their affidavits. SUCI(C) candidate Tanushree Dalai who is fighting from West Midnapore’s Chandrakona (SC) constituency has shown cash in hand of Rs 500 only and claims to possess no other financial assets at all.
The 29-year-old who completed his MA in 2009 from Kharagpur College lives in Khudmarai village with her parents. A newcomer to politics, she has described her profession as social worker. Lalmohan Malla, fighting on a BSP ticket from Bankura, has not declared any cash in hand and has a savings bank account with a meager balance of Rs 500.
He describes himself as a fishermen and has left the education column blank in his nomination papers.
Sadhan Chattaraj, a farmer from Onda seat, too has only 500 rupees in his pocket. He is fighting on a BSP ticket. None of them have PAN cards.
Similarly, Dipak Kumar and Suniti Mudi who are fighting on SUCI (C) tickets from Purulia district’s Manbazar and Balarampur seats have only Rs 500 with them.
Rajib Mudi fighting from West Midnapore’s Maoist-affected Binpur area is the richest amongst them having Rs 975 in his pocket.
Papers of all of these candidates have passed the scrutiny test of the Election Commission.
The first phase of the six-phase-long polling will be held in two parts — April 4 and 11. These “poor” candidates will be competing for votes against some “rich” candidates as the average assets of all candidates is Rs 48 lakh, according to analysis by West Bengal Election Watch.
Forty nine seats in West Midnapore, Purulia, Bankura and Burdwan districts is part of this phase where 296 candidates are trying their luck.