The Times of India

Fat bank balances could have been instrumental in drafting many victories during the assembly elections. If election results and the details of newly elected representatives are seen, nearly 28% candidates who had assets of Rs 5 crore or more have registered win in their constituencies. In sharp contrast, barely 1% candidates who had assets less than Rs 20 lakh could win the elections.

In a state where the margin of victory has traditionally been wafer thin, the power of money in many parts seems to have played a crucial role. Sixty out of the 217 candidates who declared assets of Rs 5 crore or more managed to convert their candidature into electoral victory; out of 1,660 candidates with less than Rs 20 lakh to their credit, only 19 could turn the voters in their favour.

According to an analysis done by UP Election Watch, out of the 403 candidates elected to power, 271 are crorepatis. In 2007, only 124 MLAs were crorepatis. The wealthiest of the current crop of MLAs is Congress' Nawab Kazim Ali Khan from Suar constituency in Rampur. His assets are worth Rs 56.89 crore. Bahujan Samaj Party's Shah Alam from Mubarakpur scores second with assets of Rs 54.44 crore. Bharatiya Janata Party's Mahesh Kumar Sharma from Noida stands third; he has assets worth Rs 37.45 crore.

There are positives, too, to look forward to in the state's assembly. Creating history, the 16th state assembly will be home to over 50% persons - 239 MLAs - who have at least obtained a graduation degree. In what could go a long way in reinforcing the Samajwadi Party's new, progressive image, the highest numbers of graduate, post-graduate professional and doctorate MLAs belong to SP. In contrast, also additional good news for the state legislature, only 40 MLAs are less than class VIII educated.

At least some of the change that will be apparent in the people's representatives can also be attributed to the age group they belong to. If politics was earlier believed to be a post-retirement option, the trend is clearly changing. The just concluded assembly elections appear to have upset more than just one trend; this year, as many as 9 under-30 MLAs will represent the UP masses. On the flip side, 15 MLAs who are older than 71 years will join them on the floor of the house. There's also a sizeable chunk of MLAs who fall in the age group of 30 to 50 years. A total of 209 MLAs fall in this age bracket and will be a part of the new legislature.

With a clear majority in the house, the Samajwadi Party MLAs have an edge in this area as well. A total of 151 SP MLAs are under 55 years old. The oldest members of the house - aged 76 years and above - are also a part of the SP camp.

Interestingly, assembly elections have set new trends outside the state assembly as well. While elections in 2007 saw 6,086 candidates enter the political fray and contest on tickets given by 131 political parties, this year, there has been a whopping growth of political outfits in the state. Parties saw a stupendous 70% growth in numbers - at 223. Their ability to convert participation to actual victory, however, was largely limited, with only 11 parties managing to secure a berth in the legislature, apart from six independent MLAs. 

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