New Delhi: This Lok Sabha election, as many as 29% of candidates have assets worth Rs 1 crore or more. The percentage has shot up from 16% in 2009, according to a report by election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Released on Monday, the report is based on analysis of affidavits filed by the candidates with the Election Commission. It points out how bigger parties have a higher share: 83% of the candidates of both the BJP and the Congress own at least Rs 1 crore worth of assets.

The wealthiest among all is Pataliputra, Bihar’s Independent candidate Ramesh Kumar Sharma with assets worth Rs 1,108 crore. Congress’ Konda Vishweshwar Reddy and Nakul Nath are next with Rs 895 crore and Rs 660 crore respectively.

ADR has also analysed the wealth of 335 out of 338 sitting MPs who are defending their seats this time. Their assets increased by nearly Rs 7 crore between 2014 and 2019, on average. Average assets of Congress MPs rose from Rs 30 crore to Rs 61 crore while those of BJP MPs rose from Rs 13 crore to Rs 17 crore, said the report.

ADR has analysed affidavits of about 98.5% candidates contesting the 2019 elections. Affidavits of other candidates were not analysed due to unavailability of clear and complete affidavits.

Meanwhile, 19% of the close to 8,000 candidates have declared pending criminal cases against them.  These figures have increased for the second consecutive general election.

But not all candidates have criminal cases of serious nature against them; 1070 of the 1,500 candidates with declared criminal cases have such cases against them.

Also, the bigger political parties have a bigger share of such candidates. Among the seven national parties in the country, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has the highest share of such candidates, 58%, while the Bahujan Samaj Party has the lowest, 22%.

Among all candidates this year, BJP’s K Surendran from Kerala’s Pathanamthitta constituency has the highest number of criminal cases pending against him, 240, of which 129 are of serious nature.

The second highest number of criminal cases has been declared by the Congress party’s candidate from Kerala’s Idukki constituency, Dean Kuriakose. He has 204 criminal cases pending against him, 37 of them of serious nature.