India Today
Piyush Aggarwal
New Delhi

A report by the Association for Democratic Reforms shows the dramatic rise in assets of the 189 incumbent MLAs in Karnataka who are re-contesting the 2023 Assembly polls.

Of all the incumbent MLAs in Karnataka, 189 are re-contesting in the 2023 Assembly polls, as per the report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). These include some of the most prominent faces in Karnataka politics. Financial strength counts a lot in Indian elections, and we wanted to examine just how well the re-contesting MLAs have done for themselves since the last elections. 

As per data obtained from election affidavits submitted to the Election Commission, the assets of the 189 MLAs have changed drastically. For 168 (89%) re-contesting winners, their declared assets have seen a jump ranging from one per cent to a whopping 1,188 per cent. Declared assets of the remaining 21 (11%) candidates have diminished.

Among the top ten re-contesting MLAs, whose assets have seen exponential growth in absolute numbers, six are from Congress, three from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, and one is from the Janata Dal (Secular).

In terms of absolute numbers, the assets of DK Shivakumar witnessed the maximum jump of Rs 573 crore, from Rs 840 crore in 2018 to Rs 1,413 crore in 2023. Shivakumar, the state president of Congress, won the 2018 elections from the Kanakpura constituency. He is contesting from the same seat this year as well.

It’s noteworthy that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a case against Shivakumar under the Prevention of Corruption Act in October 2020. As per the agency, between 2013 and 2018, Shivakumar and his family were in possession of around Rs 74 crore in disproportionate assets.

In terms of percentage increase, the assets of Yashavantaraygoud Vittalagoud Patil, a Congress party candidate from the Indi constituency, saw the highest jump of 1,188 per cent, from Rs 90 lakhs in 2018 to Rs 11.7 crore in 2023. 

BJP candidate Munirathna’s affidavit saw the highest jump in assets, among the re-contesting MLAs from the saffron party. His declared assets went from Rs 89 crore in 2020 to Rs 293 crore in 2023. His declared assets were Rs 43 crore in 2018.

Among the independent re-contesting MLAs, Gulihatti D Shekar is the only one to have an asset increase, from Rs 11.5 crore in 2018 to Rs 14.8 crore in 2023. In the last Assembly polls, Shekar won on a BJP ticket from the Hosadurga constituency. 

Looking at the data party-wise, the maximum number of incumbent MLAs whose assets have increased are from the BJP (87), followed by the Congress (55), and the JD(S) with 24 candidates. Interestingly, the average increase in the assets of re-contesting MLAs from the ruling BJP is Rs 16.46 crore. Meanwhile, for the Congress party, it is Rs 37 crore.

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