As many as 106 candidates in the fray for the third and fourth phases of the Bengal assembly elections are millionaires, while 128 candidates have criminal cases registered against them. Affidavits filed by the candidates reveal that 61 of the 418 candidates in the third phase and 45 of the 345 candidates in the fourth phase are multi-millionaires.
West Bengal Election Watch said 80 aspirants in the third phase and 48 candidates in the fourth phase have declared criminal cases, including serious offences like murder and rape, pending against them.
In the third phase, the Trinamool Congress heads the multi-millionaires’ list with 27 candidates, followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party with 14 and the Congress with 11. Sixty-two constituencies spread across Burdwan, Kolkata, Murshidabad and Nadia districts will go to polls in the third phase on April 21.
Forty-nine constituencies in Howrah and the North 24-Parganas will go to polls in the fourth phase on April 25. In the fourth phase, Trinamool has fielded 15 candidates with criminal cases, the BJP 7 and the Congress and the CPI-M 6 each.
The BJP’s Somabrata Mandal from Shyampukur constituency in Kolkata is the wealthiest candidate in the third phase with assets worth over Rs.28.65 crore. The second wealthiest candidate is of Trinamool Congress’s Jangipur nominee Jakir Hussain with Rs 21.95 crore.
The average worth of assets held by the 418 candidates in the third phase is Rs.74.76 lakh.
In the fourth phase, the Trinamool Congress has fielded 19 crorepati candidates, followed by the BJP with eight and the Congress with five.
Trinamool nominee and state Finance Minister Amit Kumar Mitra, contesting from Khardaha in the North 24-Parganas, heads the multi-millionaires’ list in the fourth phase with assets worth over Rs 11.74 crore. The average worth of assets held by 345 candidates in the fourth phase is Rs.50.02 lakh.
Of the 80 candidates in the third phase with criminal cases, 65 face serious charges of murder, rape, attempt to murder and kidnapping. Among them Trinamool has 20 candidates with criminal cases, followed by the Congress and the CPI(M) with 16 each and the BJP 15.
The first two phases of polls had witnessed stray incidents of violence, but largely passed off peacefully. Though the opposition alleged foul play and intimidation, the Election Commission called the polls peaceful. With several candidates wanted in criminal cases in fray in phases going forward, the fear of violence looms large.