As many as seven ‘crorepatis’ fielded by major political parties are contesting in the ongoing Assembly elections in Bellary district — up by two since 2008.
Anil Lad, presently a member of parliament in the Rajya Sabha has assets worth Rs. 230 crore; B.S. Anand Singh, former Tourism Minister (BJP), has Rs. 101 crore; B. Sriramulu, president of BSR Congress, is worth Rs. 44.54 crore, while B. Nagendra (Independent) is worth Rs. 14.38 crore.
The new members to join the ‘crorepati’ club are Rani Samyukta (BSR Congress), a cousin of Mr. Singh with Rs. 71.31 crore, while Abdul Wahab, a senior Congress leader in the district, who is trying his luck after a gap of nearly two decades has a net worth of Rs. 54.36 crore.
A majority of them are either associates of the jailed mining baron G. Janardhan Reddy or have had business links with him. Nearly everyone figures in the Lokayukta Report on illegal mining, and in the investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
However, conspicuous expenditure in this election as compared to previous elections has almost come to a halt for two reasons, namely, a mining ban by Supreme Court, and the strict vigil by the Election Commission on poll expenditures followed by enforcement of the model code of conduct.