RANCHI: Jharkhand might be a poor state, but it won't be difficult to find a wealthy politician here. Of the 223 candidates in the second phase of the assembly election, 37 are crorepatis, shows a report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Congress, which is contesting polls in alliance with RJD and JD(U), leads the pack with 55% (11 of 20 candidates in Phase II) of its candidates being crorepatis. The party's candidate from reserved Khunti assembly segment and tribal leader, Pushpa Surin, tops the list with assets worth Rs 9.36 crore, shows the ADR report.
Another tribal leader, Abhay Singh, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) candidate for Jamshedpur (East) seat, is just behind Surin with assets worth Rs 9.05 crore. Ramdas Soren, who is contesting from Ghatsila on Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) ticket, is the third richest among the 37 crorepatis with assets worth Rs 6.06 crore. JVM(P) and JMM have 11% and 25% crorepati candidates, respectively, in the second phase on December 2 when 20 assembly constituencies will go to polls. Five of 20 candidates of JMM and two of 18 candidates of JVM(P), contesting polls in alliance with Trinamool Congress, are crorepatis. Five independent candidates too are in the league. 
BJP, which is contesting the polls in alliance with Ajsu Party, has fielded 18 candidates of which eight are crorepatis (44%). The average asset per candidate contesting in the second phase is Rs 59.21 lakh. Congress again emerges winner. Congress's 20 candidates have average assets worth Rs 1.57 crore. BJP's 18 candidates have average assets worth Rs 1.18 crore. While JMM's 20 candidates have average assets worth Rs 1 crore, JVM(P)'s 19 candidates have average assets worth Rs 78.68 lakh. For independents, it is Rs 34.02 lakh. ADR's Jharkhand coordinator Sudhir Pal said in state elections money and muscle power rules. "The political parties focus on people with money and muscle and not those who are socially well connected or do an issue-based politics," he said.
Congress spokesperson Lal Kishore Nath Shahdeo said it was just a coincidence that those selected were crorepatis. "The candidates were selected through a transparent democratic process by block, district and state level committees. Money or muscle has never been a criterion," said Shahdeo. BJP state vice-president Deepak Prakash echoed Shahdeo's words. In the first phase, 46 of the 199 candidates were crorepatis. 

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