Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik and his son Navajyoti have emerged as the richest candidates in the fray for the fourth and final phase of twin elections in the state, according to a report.
Altogether, six Lok Sabha constituencies – Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur – and 42 Odisha Assembly seats that come under them are scheduled to go to polls in the final phase on April 29.
While greenhorn Navajyoti Patnaik, with a total asset of Rs 104 crore, was found to be the wealthiest among the 52 candidates contesting the Lok Sabha polls, father Niranjan Patnaik’s figured on top of the list of 334 assembly election nominees with property worth Rs 60 crore.
The senior Congress leader is contesting the state polls from Ghasipura and Bhandaripokhari seats.
According to the report by Odisha Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a total of 17 (33 per cent) parliamentary poll candidates have assets worth more than Rs 1 crore.
Navajyoti Patnaik, who is contesting the poll from Balasore Lok Sabha seat, was followed on the list by his rival and BJD candidate from the same constituency, Rabindra Kumar Jena, with assets worth Rs 72 crore.
The saffron party’s Kendrapara candidate, Baijayant Panda, occupied the third position in the list with property worth Rs 57 crore.
Pragatishil Samajwadi Party’s Subash, who is also in the fray from Balasore, figured last on the list with assets worth Rs 7,000.
The report also stated that six (12 per cent) Lok Sabha candidates have declared serious criminal cases against them in their affidavits.
Of the 346 nominees contesting the assembly elections on Monday, the election watch could verify the affidavits of only 334 candidates.
Odisha Election Watch convener Ranjan Mohanty said the affidavits of 12 candidates were not made available to them.
A total of 81 (24 per cent) assembly poll candidates have been found to be crorepatis, the report said.
Chiranjib Biswal, who is fighting the election from Jagatsinghpur seat on a Congress ticket, is the second richest candidate in the fourth phase with assets worth Rs 33 crore.
Kalinga Sena candidate Umakanta Parida, contesting from Balikuda-Ersama seat, was found to be the poorest among the lot with assets of just Rs 500.
A total of 52 (16 per cent) assembly poll candidates have declared serious criminal cases against them in the affidavits, the report added.