Chandigarh: Punjab may be reeling under debt, but candidates contesting assembly polls have become richer in the last five years with their assets growing manifold.
Leading the list of highest jump in assets percentage-wise among contestants is Congress candidate from Bholath constituency Sukhpal Singh Khaira.
His assets zoomed by 2,282 per cent to Rs 52.66 crore compared with Rs 2.21 crore of assets declared five years back in 2007 elections, according to a report by NGO Punjab Election Watch (PEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) which cited affidavits submitted by the candidates to the Election Commission,
The report is based on the analysis and comparison of affidavits of 77 MLAs who are contesting again in the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections
The average assets of the contestants of Congress party have gone up by 159 per cent (Rs 6.81 crore) while SAD contestants' assets jumped by 86 per cent (Rs 4.74 crore).
Among the prominent candidates, the assets of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal shot up by 34 per cent to Rs 90.86 crore in 2012 Assembly elections in just two years from Rs 67.98 crore which he declared when he contested by-poll in 2009.
The wealth of former state Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal has also grown by over 200 per cent as he declared his total assets growing to Rs 28.70 crore from Rs 9.42 crore mentioned in 2007 elections.
Manpreet Badal, who is also President of Peoples Party of Punjab, has largest fleet of vehicles including Honda CRV, Toyota Fortuner, Nissan Jonga among other brands.
Belonging to Royal clan, former Punjab Chief Minister and State Congress Chief Amarinder Singh is also not less affluent among candidates as he declared assets worth Rs 45.74 crore including Rs 35 crore worth of New Moti Bagh palace.
Amarinder's wealth jumped by 7.24 crore from Rs 38.49 crore declared in last assembly polls.