At least three candidates trying their luck in the second phase of West Bengal assembly elections on April 17 next have declared zero assets while seven others have less than a thousand rupees with them.
Two independents, Benoy Kumar Das and Sandip Roy fighting from Raiganj and Mayureswar seats respectively, have declared in an affidavit before the Election Commission that they neither have any money in their pocket nor they own any other assets or properties. Khagen Das, fighting on a ticket by Bahujan Mukti Party from Dubrajpur (SC) constituency in Birbhum district, has also declared to have a zero net worth. When contacted, the higher secondary pass candidate said he has ben living on the savings of his family. "I used to work as a daily labourer but these days I am doing campaigning and political work so all my savings have been spent," the 28-year-old said.
The analysis of candidates' assets by West Bengal Election Watch shows that there are at least seven nominees whose net worth is not more than one thousand rupees. With a Rs 50 note in his pocket, 63-year-old Swadhin Dului is fighting on an SUCI (C) ticket from Suri seat against Trinamool's Asok Kumar Chattopadhyay who is rich by pover Rs 13 crore.
Gorkha Rashtriya Congress has fielded two candidates, Amar Loksom and Dhurba Dewan fighting from Kalimpong and Kurseong seats respectively, who claim to have only Rs 500 with them as assets. CPI(ML) Liberation candidate from Maynaguri (SC) constituency Rupeswar Ray is a little richer with Rs 1,000 in his pocket. Two other independents and an SUCI (C) contestant have also declared that they have Rs 1000 only with them. Indian football icon Bhaichung Bhutia, fighting on a Trinamool Congress ticket from Siliguri, is the richest of all candidates in the phase as he has declared assets worth over Rs 17 crore.Analysis of the net worth of the candidates by West Bengal Election Watch show that Rs 54.2 lakh is the average of assets owned by them. Altogether 56 candidates are 'crorepatis', of which 23 are from the ruling Trinamool Congress. Altogether 383 candidates are fighting in 56 seats in the second phase, polling for which will be held in seven districts of Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda and Birbhum on April 17.