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14 Congress candidates in poll-bound Punjab see assets shrink from previous election in 2017

Charanjit Singh Channi, Navjot Singh Sidhu feature among Congress leaders with less assets after 5 years. On average, re-contesting SAD leaders saw the highest jump in wealth.

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New Delhi: At no time is the wealth of politicians more of a talking point than during elections. It is usually observed that most candidates get richer over time. However, many sitting MLAs in Punjab have witnessed a decline in their wealth, data shows. Of these 23 MLAs, as many as 14 are from the Congress.

According to the election nomination documents scanned by democracy advocacy group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), about 101 of the current 117 MLAs who were elected in 2017 are once again running for the 2022 polls.

Of these, there are 23 candidates who have seen a decline from 2017 in the value of the assets they declared while filing their nomination.

According to the ADR data analysed by ThePrint, Punjab’s minister of employment generation and training, Rana Gurjit Singh, has witnessed the steepest fall in his assets.

In 2017, the Congress leader’s declared assets were worth around Rs 170 crore, which has fallen to Rs. 126 crore in 2022 — a decline of Rs 44 crore in five years.

Rana is followed by another Congress leader, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, whose asset value has fallen by Rs 16  crore (from Rs 67 crore to Rs 57 crore).

After Khaira comes Shiromani Akali Dal’s Bikram Singh Majithia, whose asset value plummeted by Rs 13 crore (from Rs 25 crore to Rs 12 crore). Majithia owns almost half the value of assets he held in 2017.

Graphic: Prajna Ghosh | ThePrint

Out of the 23 MLAs recording a fall in their assets, the decline was worth more than Rs one crore in 13 MLAs.

The incumbent chief minister as well as the CM candidate, Congress’ Charanjit Singh Channi and the party’s Punjab chief, Navjot Singh Sidhu,  also belong to this group.

Channi’s net assets have decreased from Rs 14.5 crore in 2017 to 9.4 crore (a fall of Rs 5 crore), while Sidhu’s asset worth has fallen from Rs 46 crore in 2017 to Rs 44.65 crore (a fall of Rs 1.3 crore).

Also read: All parties in Punjab talk ‘aam aadmi’, but field crorepatis — 93% for SAD, 91% Congress, 69% AAP

But all’s not lost for Punjab leaders

Though 23 MLAs have reported a loss in their total asset value, there are 78 candidates whose assets have swollen at the same time.

A look at the party wise average asset change for every candidate reveals that leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have witnessed the steepest rise in their assets. 

There are 14 MLAs who are re-contesting on SAD’s ticket. On average, their asset value, compared to that during the previous elections, has risen by Rs 8 crore (from Rs 16.4 crore in 2017 to Rs 24.6 crore in 2022). 

In fact, the party’s chief and the CM face of the SAD-BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) alliance, Sukhbir Singh Badal, son of former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, has seen his asset value being doubled in the last five years.

In 2017, junior Badal’s assets were worth Rs 102 crore, which have jumped to Rs 203 crore in 2022. 

Graphic: Prajna Ghosh | ThePrint

The leader gaining the most after Sukhbir is another Badal, but from the Congress Party. Manpreet Singh Badal, a cousin of Sukhbir, has seen his asset value jump from Rs 40 crore in 2017 to Rs 73 crore in 2022 — a rise of almost Rs 33 crore in just five years. 

The rise in Manpreet Badal’s assets is considerably higher than the average rise in Congress MLAs’ asset value — about Rs 1.4 crore (from Rs 13.2 crore in 2017 to Rs 14.7 crore in 2022).

Aam Aadmi Party’s co-president in Punjab and MLA from Sunam, Aman Arora, is the only AAP leader whose assets have jumped by more than Rs 10 crore. 

In 2017, he had assets worth Rs 66 crore, which have jumped to Rs 95.13 crore in 2022. 

On average, an AAP MLA’s net asset value has risen from Rs 7 crore in 2017 to Rs 10 crore in 2022.

Punjab goes to the polls Sunday.

(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)

Also read: ‘Kaale angrez, fake Kejriwal’ — gloves off as Channi & Delhi CM bid to be Punjab’s real aam aadmi


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