The average assets of 94 re-contesting MLAs in Punjab have jumped by about Rs 3 crore in the last five years.
These re-contesting legislators, mainly from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had average assets of Rs 10.81 crore in 2012, while they stand at Rs 13.80 crore now, showing an increase of 28%, according to an analysis of affidavits filed by the contesting candidates conducted by the Association for Democratic Rights (ADR).
However, contrary to popular perception, legislators of the opposition Congress have fared far better than those from the ruling SAD-BJP alliance in asset growth in the past five years. Both the Congress and SAD have 41 outgoing MLAs each who are re-contesting the February 4 elections. The Congress MLAs have average assets of Rs 18.88 crore as against Rs 13.92 crore in 2012 – an average increase of 35.64%.
In comparison, the average percentage increase in assets of re-contesting SAD legislators is 17.26%, up from Rs 9.70 crore in 2012 to Rs 11.38 crore now. The nine outgoing MLAs of the BJP, who are in the fray again, have shown a meagre growth of 0.44% in their assets. They have declared average assets of Rs 2.73 crore against Rs 2.72 crore in the previous assembly polls.
Also, four of the five re-contesting candidates with highest growth in assets in actual terms are from the Congress, with Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit Singh topping the list. A sugar baron, Rana Gurjit’s assets have jumped to Rs 170 crore from Rs 68 crore in 2012. Hoshiarpur MLA Sunder Sham Arora, Abohar MLA Sunil Jakhar, Ludhiana Central MLA Surinder Kumar Dawar (Congress) and Majitha MLA Bikram Singh Majithia (SAD) are the other four whose assets have increased in the last five years.
Of the 94 re-contesting legislators, 55 are crorepatis. While 75 MLAs have shown increase in assets, the value of assets of 19 has dropped. The average assets of 13 of them have more than doubled between 2012 and 2017. They include chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, Ajnala MLA Amarpal Singh, Khemkaran MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha, Bhadaur MLA Mohammad Sadique, Nihal Singh Wala MLA Rajwinder Kaur and Malout MLA Harpreet Singh.