Hindustan Times
New Delhi

There’s no business like politics in India, come rain or shine. Here is the proof from a key civil society pressure group for electoral reforms that politicians have thrived, untouched by the slowing economy and rising inflation.

The average increase in assets of re-elected Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies between two elections (period of five years) was almost three-fold, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has revealed.
According to ADR data on 1,370 re-elected MLAs and 200 re-elected MPs, the average income and assets of India’s 100 richest legislators grew by 745% between two consecutive elections or five years. The hike in personal wealth for legislators in this category ranges from two to 25 times. 
Such stupendous growth rates are more than double the average salary hike of chief executive officers (CEOs) of blue-chip companies in India.
Aon Hewitt’s annual salary increase survey released on Friday says the salary of CEOs of India’s top 87 multi-national companies increased by about 20% in 2012. The salaries of these top business managers have gone up by 60-80%.
The figures may appear staggering for many in the salaried class, but for some in politics they could border on the meagre.
For instance, the assets of Rajesh Shukla, a BJP MLA in Uttarakhand, have jumped by more than 2900% in five years: from Rs. 87 lakh in 2007 to more than Rs. 26 crore in 2012.
Shukla dismissed talk that politics had helped him grow his wealth. “My father was freedom fighter and associated with the Congress. Jan seva (social service) is in my genes, which is why I am in politics.”
In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, Subhash Pasi, Samajwadi Party legislator from Saidpur assembly constituency in Gazipur district, is also among the many politicians who have found the perfect business model. His assets grew from Rs. 4.7 crore in 2007 to more than Rs. 35 crore in 2012. 
Parasnath, from the SP leader’s native village (Dihiya), remembers Subhash as a small contractor who migrated to Mumbai and struck gold, apparently after developing political contacts. This helped him start a real estate company. Now, his wife Reena Pasi runs a chain of educational institutions and brothers are in various local bodies in the state.

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