iconimg Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Sukhdeep Kaur, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, April 10, 2014
Together in love and poll war, they are not the proverbial “better halves” when it comes to sharing the bounty of their husbands. The affidavits of Punjab’s rich and famous candidates show that most wives fare “poorly” in the asset tally, mainly in terms of title to property. Of the main contenders in the fray, only Vinu Badal, wife of Congress-PPP candidate from Bathinda Manpreet Singh Badal, is the “better half ” by virtue of holding the title to property in Chandigarh with a higher market value and inheriting chunks of agricultural land in Muktsar and Ferozepur districts.

Vinu’s total assets are worth Rs. 24 crore — including moveable assets of Rs. 18.66 lakh and immoveable assets of Rs. 23.85 crore – against Manpreet’s total assets worth Rs. 16.79 crore — of which Rs. 1.59 crore are moveable and Rs. 15.27 crore immoveable. The residential property in Vinu’s name in Chandigarh is shown as a gift from Manpreet in November 2012.

But the richest in the wives’ club is Sangeeta Jaitley, wife of BJP candidate from Amritsar Arun Jaitley. The couple together boast of assets worth Rs. 113 crore, of which Sangeeta has Rs. 41.4 crore. In fact, she has a higher share in immoveable assets — Rs. 41 crore — than Jaitley’s Rs. 34.7 crore.

But in terms of total assets, her husband takes a clear lead with a staggering Rs. 36.86 crore as moveable assets, including an enviable fleet of luxury cars, bank balance (Rs 18 crore), investments and jewellery.

Another wife with more property to her name than her husband is Harjit Kaur, wife of Shiromani Akali Dal’s Sangrur candidate Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa. His affidavit shows Harjit’s immoveable assets worth Rs. 1.4 crore and his a modest Rs. 51.8 lakh, though he, too, is richer in terms of total value of assets.

In sharp contrast, Preneet Kaur, the wife of Jaitley’s poll rival Capt Amarinder Singh, has the most modest list of assets. The erstwhile Patiala royal ranks is “poorest” in both wives’ clubs — those whose husbands are in the poll fray and those who are themselves contesting. As per her poll affidavit, the Patiala MP is worth Rs. 3.8 crore, including two chunks of land worth Rs. 1.66 crore. Amarinder’s assets are worth nearly Rs. 82 crore, mainly as the head of the Hindu undivided family owning the sprawling Moti Bagh Palace, now worth Rs. 71 crore.

For mer union minister Ambika Soni is the richest among wives in the poll fray with total assets worth Rs. 38 crore. Her husband doubles her tally with nearly Rs. 80 crore worth of moveable and immoveable assets.

Interestingly, Manpreet’s wife steals a march over another Badal bahu, the firebrand Bathinda MP Harsimrat Badal. The wife of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal has no property to her name. She has just Rs. 12 crore worth of moveable assets against her husband’s total assets worth nearly Rs. 100 crore.