While the claims of Haryana's ruling Congress in Haryana about the state's progress may be disputed by the opposition parties, leading politicians across the spectrum have definitely seen a massive upward movement in their financial and material worth in the last five years.
Compared to the 2009 assembly elections, when only 32 percent of the candidates were "crorepatis" (millionaires), the number of such contestants for the Oct 15 polls has gone up to 52 percent out of the 1,351 aspirants in the fray, says a study by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).
"While the 2009 assembly polls had 380 crorepati candidates, the number has gone up to 563 this time," ADR's Jagdeep Chokhar told IANS.
Party-wise, the top three outfits in the fray - the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) - lead in crorepati candidates. Each of them has a minimum declared worth of over Rs.1 crore.
Ninety percent of the Congress candidates in the fray for the 90 assembly seats are crorepatis. The BJP, which is trying a shot at power single-handedly for the first time and has absorbed many leaders from the Congress and the INLD in its fold, has 86 percent crorepati candidates while the INLD has 82 percent crorepatis in its list.
Of the 67 legislators who are re-contesting, there has been a substantial average growth of 156 percent in their net assets. In the 2009 polls, the assets of these leaders were Rs.7.30 crore which has now gone up to Rs.18.71 crore. The Rs 11.41 crore average growth of assets has happened in the past five years (2009-2014).
Among the contestants, Ravi Chauhan and Anita Chauhan of Mahendergarh district have declared a net worth of over Rs 212 crore each. They are followed by Jan Chetna Party (JCP) candidate Shakti Rani (wife of former union minister Venod Sharma - Rs.166 crore), Venod Sharma (Rs.153 crore), former minister Gopal Kanda (Rs.114 crore) and the richest woman in the country, Savitri Jindal (Rs.113 crore).
Jindal's material assets have grown from Rs.43.68 crore (2009) to Rs.113 crore. For Venod Sharma of the JCP, the rise has been from Rs.87.40 crore to Rs.153.14 crore. For Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) president Kuldeep Bishnoi (son of former chief minister Bhajan Lal), the growth has been from Rs.17.30 crore to Rs.80.12 crore now. Legislator Sukhbir Kataria saw his net worth going up from Rs.38.34 crore to Rs.104.26 crore.
The average assets of all contesting candidates this time are Rs.4.54 crore compared to Rs.2.05 crore in 2009, ADR pointed out.