Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times
In the two BJP-ruled states of Maharashtra and Haryana—where voting for Assembly polls took place on October 21—the MLAs who were elected in 2014 and are re-contesting seem to have amassed a fortune, or at least substantial growth in their assets, over the past five years.
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has come out with two reports analysing the assets—as per the self-sworn affidavits—of re-contesting MLAs in Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections 2019.
Maharashtra, in particular, has had rich elected representatives—the average percentage growth in assets for 192 re-contesting MLAs is 73%.
The assets of seven re-contesting MLAs could not be analysed due to unclear/incomplete affidavits uploaded on the Election Commission of India (ECI) website at the time of making of the report.
There are 288 assembly seats in Maharashtra with an electorate of over 8.9 crore voters and a total of 3,239 candidates contesting this time.
The vast majority of the re-contesting MLAs are from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena (SHS).
The average assets for 87 re-contesting MLAs from the BJP increased by 78.76% while the average assets for 47 re-contesting MLAs from the Shiv Sena increased by 97.72%.
For 23 re-contesting MLAs from the Congress (INC), their average assets increased by 56.89%. And for 22 re-contesting MLAs from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the average assets grew by 88.71%.
In fact, among the top five re-contesting MLAs who registered the highest increase in wealth, three belong to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and one to Shiv Sena.
The biggest gainer is Mangalprabhat Lodha, the BJP MLA from the elite Malabar Hill Assembly constituency, who saw his assets increase from Rs 198.6 crore in the 2014 Assembly elections to Rs 441.65 crore in 2019.
This amounts to a whopping increase of more than Rs 243 crore in five years. The source of the income is stated as “salary and income from investments”.
Next is Prashant Ramsheth Thakur, the BJP MLA from Panvel, whose assets grew from Rs 58.6 crore to over Rs 183 crore, an increase of over Rs 124.6 crore. The source of this income is stated as farming and earning of dividend.
Assets of Pratap Baburao Sarnaik of Shiv Sena, representing the Ovala Majiwada constituency, grew from Rs 25 crore to Rs 143.97 crore—an increase of over Rs 118.8 crore. In terms of percentage, it is an increase by a staggering 474%. The source of the income has been stated as his construction and hotel business.
As for Haryana, which has 90 Assembly seats and an electorate of 1.8 crore people, there are 63 re-contesting MLAs. One MLA could not be analysed due to incomplete/unclear information uploaded on the ECI website. There are a total of 1,169 candidates in Haryana.
For 62 re-contesting MLAs, the average percentage growth in assets is 32%.
The BJP again has the highest number of re-contesting MLAs at 39, and their average assets grew over the past five years from Rs 7.31 crore to Rs 10.58 crore.
The Congress has 17 re-contesting MLAs and their average assets increased from Rs 15.94 crore to Rs 18.99 crore.
Captain Abhimanyu, the BJP MLA from Narnaund constituency, has seen the highest increase in personal wealth from Rs 77.4 crore to Rs 170.45 crore—an increase of more than Rs 93 crore, or a remarkable 120%. The source of income has been stated as salary, rental income, transportation business, and agricultural income.