The Indian Republic
New Delhi

Here is a sobering fact- if you have a record bereft of crime you have just a one in 20 chance of winning a Lok Sabha election. Throw in a few criminal cases, and your chances improve 2.6 times to 13%. Similarly if your assets stand at less than a crore, you have just a two percent chance of scoring a win- 10 times lower than the 20 percent chance which would have been yours had you been a crorepati.

And how profitable could a stint in the Lok Sabha be? Well, you could record a more than 100% rise in assets in five years, in a country which has seen a seven percent fall in GDP over the same period.

This analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms would suggest that the more things change, the more they remain the same in our democracy. Thus, there is a rise in the number of MPs with declared criminal cases, as well as those who are crorepatis, as compared to the outgoing Lok Sabha. Among re elected MPs, there is an average increase of 137% in the assets, while 18% of the re-elected have reported an increase in the number of criminal cases against them.

In 2009, the average assets of 165 re-elected MPs whose details were scrutinized (against the total re-elected 168) were Rs 5.38 crores, while in 2014 these had risen to Rs 12.78 crores. That means an average growth of Rs 7.40 crores between the two elections.

Among these, the highest asset increase was recorded by BJP’s Patna Sahib (Bihar) MP Shatrughan Sinha whose wealth grew from Rs 15 crores in 2009 to Rs 131.74 crores in 2014- a leap of Rs 116.73 crores. The number two spot goes to Pinaki Mishra of BJD from Puri, Odisha who saw an Rs 107.40 crore increase, while Supriya Sule of NCP (Baramati, Maharashtra) recorded a rise of Rs 62.37 crores from 2009. Patil Chandrakant Raghunath (BJP, Navsari, Gujarat) and Harsimrat Kaur Badal (SAD, Bhatinda, Punjab) reported rises of 208 and 79 percent respectively.

Among the 165 re-elected MPs, 71 have self declared criminal cases to their names, and of these 13 (18%) have shown an increase in the number of cases, while of these 71 repeat MPs, 21 had no criminal cases to their names in 2009.

As in asset growth, the top spot in increased number of criminal cases also goes to a BJP MP- Ramshankar Katheira (Agra, UP) who had zero cases in 2009 but now has 21 to his name. Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Paksha from Hatkanangle (Maharashtra) has shown an increase of 12 criminal cases, while Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of INC from Baharampur (Odisha) who had declared four criminal cases in 2009, now has 16 against his name.

The only bright spot is that 18 of the re-elected have shown a decrease in criminal cases in 2014 from the previous elections.​

The importance of crime and money power in winning elections is also underlined by the fact that 34% of the 541 elected MPs (of the total 543 elected) have criminal cases to their names while 82% are crorepatis. Those with serious criminal cases to their names number 112 while Rs 14.61 crores is the average asset figure for the new MPs.

In percentage terms, regional parties have more crorepati winners as all the winning candidates from TDP, YSRCP, SP, SAD, RJD, JD(S), and JD(U) are crorepatis, while in the BJP (the party with the most seats) this figure is 84%. The top three candidates in terms of assets from Andhra Pradesh-Jayadev Galla (TDP, Guntur) Konda Vishweshwar Reddy (TRS, Chevalla) and Gokaraju Ganga Raju (BJP, Narsapuram) who have a combined wealth of more than Rs 1499 crores. That makes it more than 2000 times that of the three ‘poorest’ winners- Sumedha Nand Saraswati of the BJP (Rs 34,311), Mahant Chand Nath Yogi of the BJP with Rs 1.99 lakhs and Uma Saran of the AITC whose assets stand at Rs 4.99 lakhs.

There seems to be a direct relation between the asset value and the chances of winning. Thus 29.2% of the winners have assets of 10 crores and above, 21.9% of the winning candidates have assets between five and 10 crores and 16.7% have declared assets between one to five crores. Only 0.3% winners have reported assets less than Rs 20 lakhs.

Among the serious criminal charges, ‘attempt to murder’ stands at top with 17 MPs accused of it against the 16 who have been charged with attempting to disrupt communal harmony, the 10 who have been charged with robbery and dacoity and the seven who have been accused of kidnapping.

Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have elected the greatest number of candidates with criminal cases against their names.

A post graduate degree is the most popular qualification in the 16th Lok Sabha with 150 MPs holding it, while 116 are graduates, followed by 106 professional graduates. There is a lone illiterate MP (TDP) while five are literate without any qualification- just one less than the six who have at least passed class five.

The biggest number of winning candidates belong to the 51-60 age group, while the smallest chunks- two and 12 respectively, fall in the 81-110 and 25-30 age group.

Women constitute just 11.5% of the new Lok Sabha, and in percentage terms the greatest chunk comes from the Krishna Patel led Apna Dal (50%), Mehbooba Mufti led JKPDP (33%) and the Mamata Banerjee led AITC (32%).

Real change seems to be a long way off in our electoral politics.

- See more at:

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