Source: 
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/26216386.cms
Date: 
22.11.2013
City: 
Bhopal

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh elections have become synonymous with moolah accumulated by candidates in the poll fray. More than half the candidates in three political parties - BJP, Congress and BSP, are self-declared crorepatis. The average asset in ruling party BJP has increased from Rs 1 crore to more than Rs 4 crore per candidate, while Congress candidates, have a bigger share in the pie, having added around Rs 4 crore to their assets. The average asset of the candidates of major political parties in the state including Congress, BJP and BSP has gone up from Rs 1.07 crore to Rs 3.38 crore since 2008.

Besides, the number of crorepatis in each of the major parties has increased considerably, that in BJP and Congress has doubled since the 2008 elections. BJP had 35% crorepatis (76) of total candidates (215) fielded by it last time which has swelled to 70% (160 out of 229). Similarly, Congress had 37% candidates (81 of 217) in the richie-rich club in 2008 which in 2013 is 66% of 228.

According to the findings released here by MP Election Watch (MPEW) and Associations for Democratic Reforms (ADR) on Thursday, all the major political parties in the state - BJP, Congress and BSP have seen a fillip in the crorepati club. The organisation has analysed 683 self-sworn affidavits of candidates of all the three parties submitted to theElection Commission of India (ECI).

The richest crorepati Sanjay Pathak is incidentally also the one who has filed highest gross income tax returns (ITR) for a year. He declared the highest income of Rs 8.94 crores in the last ITR filed for the year 2012-13. Pathak not just tops the crorepati and ITR clubs, he also has the highest liabilities worth Rs 48.70 crores followed by Surendra Patwa of BJP from Bhojpur constituency with liabilities worth Rs 34.49 crores.

The poor candidates

However, not all candidates are rolling in cash. Out of 683 candidates analysed, 28 have declaredassets less than Rs 10 lakhs. Vijay Singh Uieke of BSP from Harsud constituency is the poorest among those in the fray with declared assets worth Rs 2000. Usha Thakur Didi from Indore-3 constituency has declared assets of Rs 1.38 lakhs. She is the poorest among the BJP candidates while among the Congress contestants, Vijay Raghavendra Singh from Badwara with Rs.3.77 lakhs has the least assets. Besides, there is also a zero asset candidate in the polls this year! Ajay Rawat of BSP from Manawar constituency has declared zero assets in his affidavit.

Norms not followed

However, not all candidates have stuck to the new norms drafted by ECI. According to ADR, more than one-fifth of the candidates of the three parties in the fray have not declared their PAN while two-fifths have not declared their ITR.

Of 683, 143 candidates (21%) have not declared their PAN details in the affidavits while 275 candidates (40%) have not declared their ITR. These include 17 crorepatis, who have not given PAN details. Moreover, 10 high asset candidates have not filed their ITR for the last financial year or have not declared them to the EC.

"Despite the new and revised norms drafted by the ECI, there have been no stringent checks of the affidavits. There are major gaps like omission of ITR and PAN details, yet no action has been taken the apex body," said Sachin Jain, member of MPEW.

Moolah multiplied

The sitting MLAs have also seen a huge leap in their net assets. The average asset of the 141 sitting MLAs analysed by MPEW and ADR seems to have grown by average Rs 4 crores since the last polls, pegging their growth at 242%. According to findings, the average asset worth has increased from Rs 1.7 crores to Rs 5.81 crores in the last five years. MLA from Mahidpur, Ujjain, Kalpana Parulekar's assets have witnessed an increase from Rs 96,524 to more than Rs 1.2 crore in these five years --- an increase of 12,673%.

However, in this long list of well-heeled netas, 4 BJP MLAs have reported decrease in assets between 2008 and 2013. Among them is Hatpipaliya MLA Deepak Joshi, son of Bhopal MP Kailash Joshi. Joshi reported 10% reduction in his assets, from Rs 40.94 lakhs in 2008 to Rs 36.82 lakhs in 2013.

Average asset increase of re-contesting MLAs

Party - Re-contesting MLAs - Avg assets in 2013 - Avg assets in 2008 - Avg asset increase - % increase

BJP - 86 - 3.89 Cr - 1.10 Cr - 2.79 Cr - 253%

Cong - 49 - 9.82 Cr - 2.93 Cr - 6.88 Cr - 235%

BSP - 6 - 67.69 lakh - 18.31 lakh - 49.37 lakh - 270%

Total - 141 - 5.81 Cr - 1.70 Cr - 4.11 Cr - 242%

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