Kolkata, April 22: As many as 16 crorepatis (multi-millionaires) and 11 candidates with serious criminal charges are in the fray for the second phase of Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal for the six seats spread across four districts.
In all 78 candidates are contesting the April 24 polls in the six seats – Raiganj, Malda North, Malda South, Jangipur, Murshidabad and Balurghat spread across Malda, Murshidabad, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur districts.
According to Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-political organisation aiming at electoral reforms, of the 16 millionaires, five are from the Congress, and two each from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the state’s Trinamool Congress.
Samajwadi Party’s Raiganj candidate Sudip Ranjan Sen with assets in excess of Rs.64 crore leads the pack while the average value asset per candidate in the second phase of the polls is Rs.1.32 crore.
Manas Chakraborty of the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist contesting from Balurghat is the poorest candidate possessing assets worth only Rs.30,500.
While 26 of the candidates have declared their financial liabilities, as many as 36 of the contestants have not revealed their income tax details. Besides, 12 others have failed to declare their PAN details.
Of the 11 candidates facing criminal charges including attempt to murder, kidnapping and crimes against women, two each are from Congress and BJP and one from the Trinamool.
Four of the candidates accused with attempt to murder are Abdus Sadek Sarkar of All India United Democratic Front, Abdul Mannan Hossain from Congress, Biswapriya Roy Choudhury of BJP and Mohammad Ali of the Trinamool.
The Balurghat seat in South Dinajpur district, which has three candidates with declared criminal cases, has been declared a “red alert constituency” by the ADR.
According to the body, red alert constituencies are those which have three or more candidates with criminal cases contesting the polls.