The Hindu
Syed Sajjad Ali

Eighty eight per cent of the candidates for the February 14 Tripura Assembly elections have not completed the income tax formalities, the National Election Watch (NEW) has claimed in a report.

Among the 249 candidates in the fray, 127 did not furnish Permanent Account Number (PAN) details to the Election Commission (EC). Interestingly, 51 of the 55 candidates of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) did not have a PAN card.

“Our report is based on the information received from the EC, apart from own research,” NEW programme coordinator Maskuba Faridi said here. They were preparing similar reports for Meghalaya and Nagaland, which will go to the polls on February 23.

Sixteen candidates in Tripura are “crorepatis” — 12 from the Congress, one from the CPI (M) and two independents. Biplab Ghosh, Congress nominee for Matabari in south Tripura, is the richest among all candidates, with assets amounting to Rs. 9.29 crore, the report said.

CPI(M) Minister Jitendra Choudhury, who is trying his luck from Manu segment in south Tripura, is attributed as the richest in his party with assets worth Rs. 1.5 crore. He, however, has a liability of Rs. 28 lakh.

The NEW report, prepared with the support of the Tripura chapter coordinator Biswendu Bhattacharjee, mentioned that 66 candidates had shown their assets below Rs. 1 lakh in their affidavits. Babul Banik, a Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) candidate from the Suryamaninagar constituency, near here, has no assets or bank balance.

According to the report, there are only 15 women candidates in the fray.

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