Kolkata: As many as nine of the 47 candidates in the fray in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal are crorepatis (millionaires), with football icon Bhaichung Bhutia of Trinamool Congress leading the pack.
According to West Bengal Election Watch (WBEW), 19 percent of the total candidates for the first phase have declared assets worth more than Rs 1 crore.
Bhutia, contesting the polls from Darjeeling constituency tops the list with assets in excess of Rs 18 crore while independent candidates from the same constituency, MP Lama and AK Agarwal have assets in excess of Rs 3 crore and Rs 2 crore respectively.
Polling for four seats -- Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar -- in the northern part of the state would be held April 17.
Two of the four candidates each from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress, while one of the two Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) candidates and one out of the four Congress candidates are crorepatis.
The lone Revolutionary Socialist Party candidate is also a crorepati.
As many as 16 candidates have declared more than Rs 50 lakh worth of assets.
The average assets per candidate contesting in the first phase is Rs 94.40 lakh.
Regarding party-wise average assets, the Trinamool (four candidates) has maximum average asset of Rs 5.25 crore. The BJP with four candidates is placed second with Rs 1.02 crore while the Congress with the equal number of candidates has average asset of Rs 1.01 crore.
Average assets of four Socialist Unity Centre of India-C are Rs 6.54 lakh while the CPI-M with two candidates has Rs 63.27 lakh.
As many as 20 of the 47 candidates have not declared their income tax details including four of them who possess property in excess of Rs 50 lakh, while six of the candidates have failed to give their PAN details.
Five of the 47 candidates have serious criminal cases including murder and attempt to murder against them.
Two of the candidates having criminal antecedents belong to SUCI, one from the CPI-M, one from the Forward Bloc and the other is an independent candidate.
Three of the five candidates with criminal background are contesting from Cooch Behar constituency making it a "Red Alert Constituency".