Samajwadi Party candidate Poonam Sinha has emerged as the richest candidate in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections, to be held on May 6. According to a report released by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), she has declared assets of over Rs 193 crore in her affidavit to the Election Commission.
Poonam Sinha, wife of actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, had joined the Samajwadi Party on April 16. She will be contesting from Lucknow against the BJP's Rajnath Singh and Congress' Acharya Pramod Krishnam.
Following Poonam Sinha on the list of richest candidates is Vijay Kumar Mishra, the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) candidate from Sitapur, with assets worth over Rs 177 crore. Jayant Sinha, the BJP candidate from Hazaribagh, comes a distant third with Rs 77 crore in assets.
According to the ADR report, most of the 184 candidates on the list with assets worth Rs 1 crore or more belong to the BJP. While three have declared zero assets, six others on the list of 668 could not be analysed due "unavailability" of complete affidavits, the organisation said.
The average worth of assets per candidate contesting in the upcoming phase of polling was Rs 2.57 crore. "Among major parties, 48 BJP candidates have average assets of Rs 6.91 crore, 45 Congress candidates have average assets of Rs 8.74 crore, 33 Bahujan Samaj Party candidates have average assets of Rs 3.32 crore, and 9 Samajwadi Party candidates have average assets worth Rs 31.57 crore," the ADR report said.
The upcoming phase will also see 79 women candidates contesting in the elections, coming up to 12% of the total number. Also, 14% of the total candidates have declared serious criminal cases.
The ADR describes itself as a "non-partisan" organisation that works in the area of electoral and political reforms to ensure transparency and accountability in Indian politics.
The seven-phased Lok Sabha elections will end on May 19, and the votes will be counted four days later.
(With inputs from IANS)