The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is fielding the highest number of 'crorepati' (multi-millionaire) candidates this Lok Sabha elections in Orissa, followed by the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), a voluntary organisation said on Sunday.
The Orissa Election Watch (OEW) said BJD, which is fielding seven candidates who are crorepatis (a crore is 10 million). This is in close competition with the Congress that has fielded six candidates having movable and immovable assets worth more than Rs.10 million.
"Four such candidates have been fielded by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and as many as three by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)," OEW coordinator Ranjan Mohanty told IANS.
Releasing the list, he said the richest BJD candidates are Pinaki Mishra, Baijayant Panda, Bhartruhari Mahatab, Nityananda Pradhan, Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, Dambaru Majhi and Arjun Charan Sethi.
Pinaki Mishra, who is contesting elections on a BJD ticket from the Puri constituency, is the richest amongst all and has cited total assets of Rs.29.7 crore (Rs.297 million) in an affidavit. He has movable assets of Rs.6,500,000 (Rs.6.5 million) and immovable assets of Rs.29 crore (Rs.290 million).
Mohanty said the calculation was made on the basis of the data collected from the affidavits filed by the candidates.
Congress candidate from the Keonjhar constituency Dhananjaya Sidhu is the second richest candidate. He has movable assets of Rs.1,267,000 and immovable assets worth Rs.26.9 crore (Rs.269 million), taking the total asset value to Rs.27 crore (Rs.270 million).
Biju Janata Dal candidate for Kendrapada Lok Sabha seat Baijayant Panda, who is also an industrialist, came third in the list with total assets of Rs.17.7 crore (Rs.177 million). He has movable assets worth Rs.10.4 crore (Rs.104 million) and immovable assets of Rs.7.2 crore (Rs.72.8 million).
At least 157 candidates are testing their luck for the state's 21 Lok Sabha seats this general elections. The state, which has 27,160,572 voters, will simultaneously elect 147 members to the state assembly.
The elections are scheduled to be held in two phases on April 16 and April 23 in the state.