Chandigarh, Jan 12 (IANS) That they were super-rich was never in doubt but the top political leadership in Punjab, especially from two families, are worth nearly Rs.250 crore ($48 million) of declared wealth.
Affidavits submitted by the top politicos in Punjab while filing their nominations to various seats for the state's Jan 30 assembly polls have revealed that their riches are getting bigger and better.
So if the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal president and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has declared assets of over Rs.76 crore, it has not come as a surprise to anyone.
His wife and Bathinda MP, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, is worth Rs.15.38 crore. Sukhbir is contesting for the Jalalabad assembly seat from the border district of Ferozepur.
While the net declared wealth of the Badal couple alone is over Rs.91.38 crore, they, ironically, do not even own a car. All that Sukhbir has in the name of a vehicle is a tractor.
It is another matter that the Badals are owners of two super-luxury hotels in Gurgaon city, adjoining national capital New Delhi. The latest of the hotels is managed by the Oberoi group and is touted as one of the top-of-the-line hotels in the country.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 84, the father of Sukhbir Badal, with declared assets of nearly Rs.7 crore, is the poorest member of the Badal clan.
Badal Senior is contesting for the Lambi assembly seat against his younger brother Gurdas Badal of the Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP) and first cousin Mahesinder Singh Badal of the Congress.
Gurdas Badal, 81, who never came into political limelight earlier unlike his elder brother, has declared assets of nearly Rs.20 crore.
Sukhbir's brother-in-law and Harsimrat's brother, Bikram Singh Majithia, who is a sitting legislator from Majitha near Amritsar, has declared a net worth of Rs.11.21 crore.
Punjab Congress president and former chief minister Amarinder Singh, who is contesting his traditional Patiala assembly seat, has declared assets of Rs.45.74 crore.
Amarinder's relative and the Congress candidate from Dhuri seat in Sangrur district, Arvind Khanna, has declared assets of nearly Rs.46 crore. Khanna has a foreign exchange violation case by the Central Bureau of Investigation pending against him.
Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who is the leader of the opposition in the outgoing assembly, has declared assets of under Rs.3 crore.
Cricketer-turned-politician and Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, has declared assets of Rs.2.38 crore. Contesting from the Amritsar-east assembly constituency on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket, she pedalled her way on a bicycle to the office of the returning officer Tuesday with her husband and a few supporters.
Several other leading candidates from the Congress and the ruling Akali Dal-BJP alliance are worth several millions. Congress candidate from Jalandhar-north and former minister Avtar Henry has declared assets of nearly Rs.14 crore.
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)