The Times of India
Raising concerns over the possible use of money and muscle power by influential politicians in Assam during the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the National Election Watch (NEW) has appealed to various political parties not to field candidates who can harm the sanctity of the elections.

Addressing a news conference here on Saturday, NEW officials said, of the 14 MPs elected from the state in the 2009 elections, two MPs - Ranee Narah (Congress) and Rajen Gohain (BJP) - had criminal cases against them. The current status of the cases is not known.

Assam Election Watch (AEW), the Assam chapter of NEW, in a joint endeavour with Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), launched a campaign called "Mera Vote Mera Desh" to raise awareness among voters in Assam regarding the credentials of the contesting candidates.

In a report brought out by the AEW and ADR, 36 per cent of Assam MPs are crorepatis.

The findings stated that of the seven Congress MPs from Assam, three are crorepatis, while of the four BJP MPs, one is a crorepati. Another crorepati MP from Assam belongs to All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).

AIUDF chief, and the party's lone MP from Assam, Badruddin Ajmal tops the list of crorepatis from the state with total assets of over Rs 30 crore, followed by Congress MPs Ranee Narah (over Rs 5 crore) and Biren Singh Engti (over Rs 2 crore).

AEW and ADR analyzed affidavits of 155 candidates, who contested in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Assam, and found that 12 candidates had declared pending criminal cases. Two of them won in the elections.

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