Nearly 200 out of 800 candidates in the field for the 39 Lok Sabha seats are fabulously wealthy, with top three having assets in the range of Rs 126 crore to Rs 417 crore as per their own declarations made at the time of their nominations, according to a survey done by the Association for Democratic Reforms.
In a report released on Sunday the ADR has said topping the list is retail king Vasanth Kumar of the Congress whose declared wealth is Rs 417 crore and liabilities Rs 154 crore. He is taking on Union Minister Pon Radhakrishan in Kanyakumari. He is followed by Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam candidate and businessman Isakki Subbiah worth Rs 237 crore. Third in the list is AIADMK candidate and educationist A C Shanmugham who runs a university and whose assets stand at Rs 126 crore . He has declared liabilities of Rs 36.31 crore.
Of the multi-millionaire candidates, 23 belong to the DMK, 22 from AIADMK and 19 from Makkal Needhi Maiam of actor Kamal Hasan.Against this, only seven millionaires are from the Congress, five from the BJP and a surprisingly high number of 12 from the ultra Tamil nationalist party of Naam Tamizhar Kaghagam which lobbies for Sri Lankan Tamils spread all over the world.
The average assets of Congress candidates is Rs 70.29 crore, of DMK Rs 25.91 crore, Pattali Makkal Katchi Rs 23.03 crore. BJP Rs 21.54 crore, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhgam of actor Vijayakanth Rs 17.18 crore, AIADMK Rs 14.27 crore, Makkal Needhi Maiam Rs 2.48 crore and Naam Tamizhar Katchi Rs 77 lakh. Top income-tax payers are Vasanth Kumar( Rs 28,95 crore) DMK candidate Dayanidhi Maran( Rs 3.8 crore) and DMK candidate for Kallakurichi Gauthama Sigamani ( Rs 3.44 crore).
The ADR has also said 101 candidates have criminal cases pending against them. Of these, 67 face serious criminal charges. The maximum number of cases pending against a candidate is PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss who has 12 pending. The ADR’s survey on governance done between October and December last year shows that Tamil Nadu has performed below average in key indices like jobs, availability of water, loan to farmers and price for their farm produce as well as health care.
Only 52 candidates have assets below Rs 1 crore, according to another report released by Movement for Democratic Reforms. Prominent among are four communist candidates, two each from the CPI and the CPM. They are S Venkatesan and P R Natarajan of the CPM from Madurai and Coimbatore and Selvaraj and Subbarayan of the CPI from Nagapattinam and Tirupur respectively. Also not in the crore pathi list is PMK candidate for Villupuram Vadivel Ravanan.
Also figuring in the list are two Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Kathi leaders N Thirumavalavan and his deputy D Rajakumar. Surprisingly Congress candidate for Karur Jothimani, who is close to Congress president Rajiv Gandhi, has also declared assets below Rs 1 crore.