Times of India

Recession may have cast its dark shadow over the world since 2008, but sitting MLAs in Punjab appear to have enjoyed boom time since 2007 if increase in their asset value over the last five years is any indication. Data compiled by Punjab Election Watch (PEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows that at least five sitting MLAs have shown over 1,000% increase in asset value over the last five years.

On the contrary, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal appears to have been facing a tough time with his asset value falling by 27%. Financial details of 37 recontesting MLAs of India National Congress (INC) available from affidavits filed by them of 2007 assembly elections and now reveal that the average asset increase for each recontesting MLAs is Rs 6.81 crore. The 28 recontesting SAD MLAs show an average asset increase of Rs 4.74 crore each, whereas 10 BJP MLAs have shown an increase of 6.51 crore.

Average percentage increase for Congress, SAD and BJP candidates is 169, 86 and 236, respectively. The maximum growth in assets has been for Kewal S i n g h Dhillon of Congress. His assets have grown by over Rs 71.67 crore, an increase of 1,048%. He is followed by Sukhpal Singh of INC with asset growth of over Rs 50.45 crore (2,282%) and S Sukhpal Singh Nanu of BJP with asset growth of over Rs 47.8 crore (605%).

Gurpreet Singh Kangar of Congress with an asset value of Rs 11 crore has shown asset appreciation by 1066%. Bikramjit Singh Khalsa with declared assets of Rs 5.72 crore against Rs 50.58 lakh in 2007 has shown an increase of 1,033%. Ajit Singh Shant of Congress has declared an asset increase of 1054% with his assets increasing from just Rs 4,26 lakh to Rs 49.24 lakh. Congress state president Amarinder Singh's assets have increased in value by 19%, with his assets going up from Rs 38 crore to Rs 45 crore.

Interestingly, five sitting MLAs, including the CM, have shown fall in their asset value. As per the comparative data, CM Badal has turned poorer by 27% with a declared asset value of Rs 6.75 crore against Rs 9.20 crore in 2007. Ripjeet Singh of Congress has shown a fall of 55% with his assets going down from Rs 1.75 crore to Rs 79.64 lakh. Ishwar Singh of Congress has become poorer by 31% with his assets going down from Rs 3.38 crore to Rs 2.33 crore. Gurbachan Singh Babbehali of SAD has shown a fall of 68% as his asset value depreciated from Rs 2,53 crore to Rs 80 lakh. BJP's Chunni Lal Bhagat has shown 64% fall in his asset value with declared assets valued at Rs 1.67 crore against Rs 4.66 crore in 2007.

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