Kolkata, April 26 (IANS) As many as 349 candidates are in the fray in the fifth phase of the West Bengal assembly elections, of whom 67 have criminal cases pending against them while 43 are crorepatis.
Fifty-three constituencies spread across the districts of South 24 Parganas, Kolkata and Hooghly will go to the polls in the fifth phase on Saturday.
According to a report released by the West Bengal Election Watch on Tuesday, 52 of the 67 candidates with criminal cases face serious charges including that of murder and crimes against women.
The ruling Trinamool Congress with 17 nominees leads the list of candidates with criminal charges, followed by the Communist Party of India-Marxist with 14.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded 10 such candidates while the Congress has fielded seven.
Five constituencies — Kolkata Port, Jangipara, Kasba, Raidighi and Singur — have been declared as “red alert constituencies”, where there are three or more candidates with criminal charges.
The average assets of all the 349 candidates is Rs.70.78 lakh.
The Trinamool leads the crorepati list with 23 candidates followed by 9 from the BJP and 6 from CPI-M and 3 from the Congress.
Khalid Ebadullah of the Congress from Magrahat West in South 24 Parganas is the wealthiest candidate with assets in excess of Rs.19 crore.
One the flip side, Indian Union Muslim League nominee W.H. Khan contesting from Ballygunge in the city and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha candidate Kashinath Murmu from Saptagram in Hooghly have declared zero assets.
Of the 47 candidates who won in 2011 and are re-contesting the polls this time, 42 are from Trinamool, two from the CPI-M and one each from the Forward Bloc, SUCI and the Revolutionary Socialist Party.
The average assets of the 42 recontesting candidates from Trinamool have grown by 119.80 percent in the last five years.
State minister and Trinamool candidate Javed Ahmed Khan from Kasba has seen his assets surge by a whopping 3,467.45 percent in the last five years to reach in excess of Rs.17 crore. His properties as per his affidavit in 2011 were valued at Rs.48 lakh.