New Delhi: The poll-bound northeastern state Nagaland, which has a population of just 20 lakh, has seen a steady rise in the number of rich candidates contesting elections in the recent past.
According to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 114 (59 per cent) out of the total 196 candidates in the fray, have declared their assets in crores.
Among the top three crorepati candidates are – Ramongo Lotha (Rs 38.92 crore) of JD(U), KLChishi (Rs 38.2 crore) of the BJP and former CM Neiphiu Rio (Rs 36.41 crore), who has recently floated his Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party – the ADR report said.
According to an assessment done by ADR, the average asset per candidate is Rs 3.76 crore.
Interestingly, 27 or 14 per cent of the candidates, out of 193, have not declared their source of income.
The ADR, along with the Nagaland Election Watch, analysed the affidavits of 193 out of a total of 196 candidates.
It found out that of the 193 candidates, 114 (59 per cent) are crorepatis.
The ADR report said, “43 (77 per cent) out of 56 candidates from NPF, 24 (62 per cent) out of 39 candidates from NDPP, 13 (65 per cent) out of 20 candidates from BJP, 12 (48 per cent) out of 25 candidates from NPP, 7 (54 per cent) out of 13 candidates from JD(U), and 6 (33 per cent) out of 18 candidates from INC have declared assets worth more than Rs. 1 crore.”
One candidate, Akavi N. Zhimomi of AAP contesting from Ghaspani-I constituency has declared zero assets in his affidavit.
The ADR report also found that out of 193 candidates it analysed, 2-3 per cent of the candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
One candidate each from the NPF (56 candidates), NDPP (39 candidates), and BJP (20 candidates) have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.
Meanwhile, a total of nine out of the 193 candidates have not declared their PAN details, the ADR report said.
In terms of education, 52 candidates have declared their educational qualification to be between class VIII to class XII pass, while 137 others declared having an educational qualification of graduate or above, according to ADR.
There are three illiterate candidates in the electoral fray in Nagaland, the ADR report stated.
Another interesting aspect of the ADR finding is that a majority of those contesting elections in the Nagaland assembly are aged between 51 years to 80 years while 75 candidates are between 25 years to 50 years.