poverty

As many as 327 of the 402 newly elected MLAs in Uttar Pradesh are crorepatis despite the fact that nearly 30 per cent of people of the state are so poor that they spend less than Rs 1000 a month for their survival.

The self-sworn affidavits filed by the aspiring candidates before the Election Commission of India also show that most of the MLAs, who were re-elected, had increased their wealth many fold during the last five years.

According to the World Bank, 60 million of the 200 million people in UP are poor. “The pace of poverty reduction in the state has been slower than the rest of the country. Poverty is widespread. The central and eastern districts in particular have very high levels of poverty. The state is also experiencing widening consumption inequality in urban areas. Growth is slow and is driven mainly by services,” the report observed.

A report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows that 81% of MLAs in Punjab, 73 % of those in Uttarakhand, 53 % in Manipur and 100 % of MLAs in Goa have assets, worth more than Rs 1 crore.

Whether such rich people can genuinely represent interests of the abysmally poor in Parliaments and Assemblies, why politicians are almost always stinking rich while voters continue to remain poor and whether such disturbing income inequality between people’s representatives and the people can justify India’s claim to be a true democracy are questions that beg for answers.

The ADR report shows that in the five states of UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa, which went to the polls, as many as 78 % of all the MLAs (540 out of 689), cutting across party lines, are crorepatis.

Significantly, the richest MLA in UP belongs to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) – an organization which claims to represent the most backward section of the people in the state: the Dalits. This MLA – Shah Alam Urf Guddu Jamali – has a declared wealth of Rs 118 crore. Five years ago, the asset of the re-elected MLA was worth Rs 54 crore. How he managed to more than double his riches in a matter of mere five years is unclear.

Vinayshankar, also from BSP in UP has shown his property to be worth Rs 67 crore.

Sukhpal Singh, the Aam Admi Party’s (AAP) MLA from Bholath, Punjab, has a wealth of Rs 66 crore, indicating that not all the leaders of AAP are really “aam admi.”

Rana Gurjit Singh, the Congress MLA from Kapurthala, Punjab has assets worth Rs 169 crore. Satpal Maharaj, BJP’s MLA in Uttarakhand, has asset Rs 80 crore.

The Supreme Court of India recently questioned the justification of extending fat pension and allowances to former members of parliament, many of whom are self-declared crorepatis. The BJP-led government in Delhi, however, has clearly indicated that it is in no mood to withdraw the freebies.

Data shows that the present Lok Sabha hs become a “crorepati club” where as many as 442 of the 541 MPs are croreptis – many of them business tycoons. The total self-declared assets of this “crorepati club” is a whopping Rs 6500 crore. Their real asset is, however, anybody’s guess.

The BJP clearly leads the club with 237, and Telugu Desam Party has the richest member, whose assets cross Rs 683 crore.

Telugu Desam’s Jayadev Galla, who won from Guntur, has assets of over Rs 683 crore. He is followed by Rs 528 crore of Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s Konda Vishweshwar Reddy. BJP’s Gokaraju Ganga Raju who won Narsapuram is the third richest, with assets worth over Rs 288 crore.

Of the 541 MPs, 112 have serious criminal cases including cases related to murder, attempt to murder, disturbing communal harmony, kidnapping, and crimes against women against them.

Read the full report: http://adrindia.org

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