Incredible though it may sound, a poor state like Orissa boasts of 65 crorepatis candidates, including two mega-rich, having property over Rs 100 crore, in fray for the second and last phase of assembly elections on April 23.
BJP's sitting MLA from Chilika assembly segment, Bibhuti Bhusan Harichandan, has property worth Rs 106 crore followed by Independent candidate from Champua, Jitu Patnaik, whose property estimate is a crore less than Harichandan.
Three crorepatis, including Jitu Patnaik, are contesting from poverty-stricken Champua seat in Keonjhar district in their bid to enter the state assembly.
Two other crorepatis in the fray from Champua are Khusha Apata (Independent) and Congress candidate Sanatan Mahakud. While Apata in his affidavit showed property worth Rs seven crore, Mahakud has property valued at Rs Five crore.
Of the top 10 crorepatis in the second phase of assembly elections, four are from mineral-rich Keonjhar district including three from Champua.
The other corepati in Keonjhar district is former Congress minister Niranjan Patnaik, a candidate from Ghasipura seat. Patnaik is the elder brother of former chief minister J B Patnaik's son-in-law Soumya Ranjan Patnaik.
Soumya Ranjan, also contesting as Congress candidate from Khandapada assembly seat in Nayagarh district, has property worth Rs four crore.
Jitu Patnaik, the second richest candidate in Orissa, had recently organised road shows to garner votes, which were attended by Bollywood stars Sunil Shetty and Raveena Tandon [ Images ].
Of the total 65 crorepatis in the fray, 20 belong to Naveen Patnaik's ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and 15 are from Congress. BJP has 12 crorepati candidates while there are nine crorepati Independent candidates in the fray.
Mayawati's [ Images ] BSP has three crorepati candidates and one crorepati belongs to Sharad Pawar's [ Images ] NCP. Mulayam Singh Yadav's [ Images ] Samajwadi Party has two such candidates while JD(U), CPI(M) and Samruddha Odisha have one such candidate in their ranks.