Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Bhagwant Mann is riding high. The Sangrur MP’s biting sarcasm and side-splitting jokes, especially his kikli (a satirical speech), in election rallies in Punjab to make fun of the Badals have set his stock soaring in recent weeks. But the financial assets of the stand-up comedian-turned politician have seen a sharp dip since his entry into politics three years ago.
Mann, who is taking on Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal in Jalalabad, has shown movable and immovable assets worth Rs 1.99 crore as compared to Rs 4.30 crore declared at the time of filing his nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, a dip of 54%, as per an analysis of the affidavits of candidates carried out by the Association for Democratic Rights (ADR).
The first-time MP has shown an annual income of Rs 9.34 lakh, as per his last income tax return.
Another player in the laughter business, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, is in the fray from Amritsar East. In contrast, the assets of the former BJP MP, who joined the Congress last week, have seen a massive jump of 217% in eight years. He has declared movable and immovable assets of Rs 45.90 crore as compared to Rs 14.50 crore shown at the time of the 2009 parliamentary polls. Sidhu is a three-time former MP from the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency.
Both Mann and Sidhu are not only being seen as crowd-pullers for their parties, but all eyes are on their impact in the closely contested triangular election in the state.
Jaskirat Singh of ADR said that the organisation has analysed asset details submitted by contestants in their affidavits submitted to the Election Commission and not gone into the reasons behind any increase or dip in the value of their assets.