Kolkata: Situated along the banks of river Bhagirathi, the Jangipur constituency which has been a Congress stronghold since the nineties is marred with extreme uncertainty. Thanks to its topography which makes its farms suffer in silence as the angry Bhagirathi engulfs it every monsoon to leave its farmland eroded, the underdeveloped roads that make communication difficult and the underground water contaminated with arsenic denies the people of this area the right to safe drinking water. With the men of this town migrating to other parts of India to provide cheap labour, the women make a beeline to the local beedi factories to make up for its cheap, unskilled labour.
However, according to the latest survey brought out by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and West Bengal Election Watch (WBEW), in which they analysed the candidates for WB Phase III Elections 2019, all three major political parties – CPM, Congress and All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) have fielded crorepatis from the bidi town of Murshidabad – Jangipur. The Bharatiya Janata Party is the only party to have fielded a non-crorepati from the region.
While releasing the study at the Kolkata Press Club, Ujjaini Halim, the state coordinator of WBEW stated, “We have analysed these candidates with the sole intention of sharing this information with the voters so that they can think and cast their votes in a responsible way.”
Sharing the details of the study she said, “The analysis of the candidates of these five constituencies has shown a great disparity. Where we have 11 crorepatis contesting the election, we have also seen three candidates with as little as only Rs 5000 as their total asset. What makes it even more interesting is the fact that a poverty-ridden place like Jangipur has three crorepatis in the fray.”
The study further revealed that out of the 61 candidates contesting from the five WB seats – Jangipur, Murshidabad, Balurghat, Malda Uttar (North) and Malda (Dakshin), only six are women. Reacting to that Ujjaini said, “The fact that only 10 per cent of the candidates is females, shows how serious women are about women representation.”
Of these 61 candidates, surprisingly, seven candidates have not declared their Income Tax Returns details. Another eight candidates have not declared their PAN card details.
The study also revealed that 25 per cent of the candidates had criminal records, while 23 per cent of the candidates had declared serious criminal records. BJP topped the list with four of its five candidates having serious criminal cases registered against them.