New Delhi

The Aam Aadmi Party, it seems, is no longer “aam (common).” The newbie party has fielded as many as 44 billionaire candidates compared to 59 crorepatis of the Congress, 50 of the BJP and 28 of the BSP for the Assembly elections in the national capital. The AAP, which owes its birth to a campaign for clean politics, also matches its rivals over candidates with criminal cases. Also, both the AAP and the BJP are yet to submit their expenditure statements for the last Assembly elections to the Election Commission.

A detailed analysis of the affidavits submitted by 673 candidates contesting the elections by election watchdog, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), showed that average candidates fielded by the AAP this time were more than twice as rich as they were in 2013. While the average assets of the AAP had grown from Rs 2.49 crore to Rs 5.89 crore, but that of the Congress candidates had declined from Rs 14.25 crore to Rs 9.60 crore. Even the average assets of the BJP candidates had gone down from Rs 8.29 crore to Rs 7.96 crore.

The Congress leads the list of the richest candidates with 59 of its 70 candidates having assets of over Rs 1 crore. The richest candidate in the fray is Shiromani Akali Dal’s Manjinder Singh Sirsa who has assets to the tune of about Rs 239 crore. The second richest is the AAP’s Parmila Tokas, having declared assets to the tune of about Rs 87 crore. The AAP’s Sat Prakash is the third richest candidate with assets worth `78 crore.

In the list of the top five candidates with incomes more than Rs 1 crore a year declared in their income-tax returns two are from the AAP, and one each from the Akali Dal, the Congress and the BJP. In all, 230 of the 673 candidates in the fray are crorepatis. In the 2013 polls, 265 of the 796 candidates had assets of more than Rs 1 crore.

As many as 80 candidates have declared assets worth less than Rs 1 lakh. Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha’s Sushil Kumar, who is contesting from Burari, has declared that he has zero assets. One candidate has declared his assets to the tune of Rs 100, another Rs 1,300 and the third Rs 1,500.

The ADR report said that the total funds collected by the national parties during the last Assembly elections were Rs 169.84 lakh and the total expenditure incurred by them was Rs 281.27 lakh. It said that the BJP had not submitted its election expenditure report to the poll panel till date. The report said that the AAP, which was not a recognised party at the time of the 2013 elections, was not required to submit an account of its poll expenditure. But, in a letter to the EC on February 22, 2014, the AAP had requested for a 15-day grace period. However, the Election Commission is yet to receive the newbie party’s statement.

The AAP has more candidates with criminal cases at 23 (11 with serious offences) than the Congress with 21 (11 with serious charges) and a few less than the BJP, which has 27 (17 with serious charges). While women’s security has been a major issue of all the political parties, there are as many as eight candidates facing cases related to crime against women.

The ADR also sounded a “red alert” in 19 constituencies which have at least three candidates with declared criminal cases against them. These constituencies are Tuglakabad with five candidates facing criminal charges; Rajouri Garden and Tilak Nagar, both having four such candidates; and Najafgarh, Babarpur, Ghonda, Nangloi Jat, Dwarka, Adarsh Nagar, Matia Mahal, Shahdara, Chhattarpur, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi, Mundka, Matiala, Okhla, Hari Nagar and R.K. Puram, each with candidates who are facing three cases.

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