The Wall Street Journal
Tripti Laheri
New Delhi

The Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch have been analyzing the assets of Uttar Pradesh candidates running in the state’s monthlong polls.

All candidates are required by law to file a list of their assets and information about when they last filed tax returns, and how much income they declared when they did. Armchair auditors can either look at scans of the original affidavits on the Election Commission of India website, or try the National Election Watch’s easier-to-use MyNeta site.

Some of the most interesting reading involves incumbent lawmakers who are running again: The election watchdogs have put out reports tallying how much richer these candidates are now than they were in 2007.

The personal wealth of the 35 candidates running for re-election in the next round of elections, on Wednesday, has increased on average from 14 million rupees ($285,000) a person in 2007 to 58 million rupees ($1.1 million) a person. That’s an increase of roughly $176,000 per person per year. In this round, though, the average has been driven up sharply by one candidate: Nand Gopal Gupta.

The assets of the 40 incumbents running in the next round, on Sunday, have risen by 15 million rupees ($300,000) in the last five years, or about $60,000 annually.

To put this in perspective, a member of the U.P. legislative assembly gets 50,000 rupees ($1,000) or $12,000 a year in salary and perks.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the increased assets are from illegal sources such as corruption. Increases in wealth can stem from appreciation in the value of inherited land or jewelry.

Cash and bank account balances have also gone up in recent years, though it isn’t always clear where those increases are coming from — candidates aren’t required to disclose the source of these amounts. In some cases candidates with increased assets are also holding astonishing amounts of debt.

And state legislators have also purchased new BMWs, four-by-four vehicles and firearms.

Here’s a look at the incumbent candidate in each of the next two rounds of voting who showed the highest wealth increases in rupee terms.

Nand Gopal Gupta, Round 3 (Wednesday, Feb. 15)

Nand Gopal Gupta is the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate from Allahabad South, and a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government. When he ran in 2007, his personal assets totaled 153 million rupees ($3 million). In 2012, he declared assets of 952 million rupees ($19 million). The BSP, headed by Chief Minister Mayawati, rules the state.The personal wealth of the 35 candidates running for re-election has increased on average from 14 million rupees a person in 2007 to 58 million rupees in 2012.

Liquid assets- In 2007 he and his wife had 1.8 million rupees in cash and bank accounts, and no stocks and bonds. Their “moveable assets” totaled 99 million rupees. Most of this, or 96 million rupees, is posted against a category labeled “other assets, such as values of claims/interests,” and no further details are provided. The couple also has 15 million rupees in insurance policies, which are not included in the total assets, probably because an individual can’t encash term insurance during his or her lifetime.

- In 2012, he and his wife had 10.7 million rupees in cash and bank accounts, 10.9 million rupees in insurance policies (this time counted as part of the total assets), as well as 29 million rupees in stocks and bonds. They’ve also loaned out 637 million rupees ($12.7 million) in personal loans. This time, in the “other assets” category, they have 120 million rupees.


-In 2007, Mr. Gupta and his wife had six cars, including two Tata Safaris, another Tata car, and three Ford Endeavor SUVs, as well as a Yamaha motorcycle, all valued at zero rupees.

- In 2012, Mr. Gupta and his wife have seven cars, including three BMWs and a Volkswagen Passat, and two motorcycles, which they estimate all together at 27 million rupees.


- In 2007, Mr. Gupta had no landholdings or homes, but he did own seven buildings, of which the smallest was around 250 square feet while the largest was nearly 36,000 square feet, all together worth 53 million rupees.

- In 2012, Mr. Gupta showed that he and his wife had purchased more than 50 acres of nonagricultural land in the previous five years, valued at nearly 47 million rupees. And now they have eight buildings worth 65 million rupees.


- In 2007, Mr. Gupta had 81 million rupees of debt, all bank loans.

- In 2012, Mr. Gupta and his wife owe 811 million rupees ($16 million), of which about 305 million rupees is from 15 different bank loans, while 506 million is listed in the category “any other liability,” without further details. Don’t forget, as noted above, that this is the couple that has loaned out 637 million rupees.

Tax returns

Both Mr. Gupta and his wife filed tax returns for the most recent tax year. He showed income of nearly 2.7 million rupees ($55,000) while she had income of 5 million rupees.


Mr. Gupta declined to comment for this piece.

Ajay Pal Singh, Round 4 (Sunday, Feb. 19)

Ajay Pal Singh, the Congress party candidate who won in Dalmau constituency in 2007, had 50 million rupees (about $1 million) of assets when he ran then. In 2012, he has 160 million rupees of assets, an increase of 109 million rupees (or about $2.2 million), and is running from Unchahar. Both areas are in Rae Bareli district, which Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, whose party rules at the federal level, represents in Parliament.

Liquid assets

– In 2007, he and his wife had 9.1 million rupees (almost $183,000) in cash, in bank accounts, and in stocks and bonds, while 3 million rupees — or 2.6 kilos of gold and over 5 kg of silver — was in jewelry. He also had 4.2 million rupeesof insurance policies, not counted in his total assets.

- In 2012, he and his wife had 18 million rupees (about $366,000) in cash, bank accounts, and stocks and bonds, and 11 million rupees in jewelry, which included 3.5 kilos of gold and 7 kg of silver. They had 3 million rupees in insurance policies and also gave out 11 million rupees in personal loans to their family businesses.


- In 2007, he had a dozen vehicles, including a tractor and a Tata Safari, valued at zero rupees.

- In 2012, he had 18 vehicles, including what appear to be four fuel tankers, valued at nine million rupees ($180,000).


– In 2007, he had 38 million rupees in property. He and his wife owned 35.6 acres of farmland worth 13 million rupees, buildings worth 10 million rupees and a 7,200 square-foot home worth 15 million rupees.

- In 2012, he and his wife had 90 million rupees in property. This included 30.3 acres of farmland worth 21 million rupees, a commercial building worth 30 million rupees and two residential properties worth 38 million rupees, of which one was inherited.


– In 2007, Mr. Singh had 21 million rupees in outstanding bank loans; in 2012 he has 24 million rupees in outstanding bank loans.

Tax returns

He and his wife filed income tax returns for the most recent tax year, showing income of one million rupees ($20,000) and 1.2 million rupees, respectively.


Mr. Singh said in a phone interview that the income he showed in his tax returns comes from family businesses — Arakha Fuels, which is a fuel dealership, and Arakha Farms and Foods Pvt. Ltd., a more than 40-year-old enterprise that owns mango orchards as well as a food processing and cold storage units.

He said his increased wealth was from land and jewelry appreciation, noting that official property valuation rates had been increased several times in the state in recent years, and that he had not acquired any new land while in power.

“I have not acquired a single inch of land since 2007,” said Mr. Singh. “Not even my family has acquired a single inch since 2007.”

© Association for Democratic Reforms
Privacy And Terms Of Use
Donation Payment Method