The Times of India

LUCKNOW: The Indian economy might have gone through a bad phase in the past five years but politicians seem to have 'flourished' both in terms of money and muscle. The BJP has not only swept Lok Sabha seats in UP but its leaders also top the chart of re-elected MPs whose assets and number of pending criminal cases increased manifold in the past five years. 

According to a study conducted by the Association of Democratic Reforms, based on the candidates' affidavits, 15 MPs have been re-elected in UP. 

BJP's Varun Gandhi, who won in 2009 from Pilibhit, but this time contested and won from Sultanpur, is in the list of top ten re-elected MPs with highest asset increase in terms of rupees. In 2009, he owned assets worth Rs 4.92 crore. This time, he declared Rs 35.73 crore, an increase of 625%. Incidentally, Varun also got married in 2011, hence this time, as per rules, assets of his wife were also included in his affidavit. 

Varun's mother Maneka, elected from Pilibhit on a BJP ticket, had in 2009 declared assets worth Rs 18.28 crore, which increased by 105% to Rs 37.41 crore this time. 

Congress president Sonia Gandhi's assets have increased from Rs 1.37 crore to Rs 9.28 crore from 2009 to 2014 — a growth of 588%. 

In terms of percentage increase, the assets of Kamlesh Paswan of BJP who has been re-elected from Bansgaon, have grown by 5649% in the past five years — from Rs 17.68 lakh to Rs 10.16 crore. 

Samajwadi Party's 'bahu', Dimple Yadav, became MP in 2012 by winning the Kannuj Lok Sabha byelection. She then owned assets worth 9.03 crore, which in two years increased to Rs 28.05 crore — a jump of 210%. Her father-in-law and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav owned Rs 16.11 crore assets in 2009, which this time have increased by 94% to Rs 15.96 crore. Mulayam's nephew Dharmendra, who won from Badaun in 2009, had declared assets worth Rs 56.82 lakh, which have now grown to Rs 2.49 crore, an increase of 340%. 

BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi assets grew by 118% from Rs 1.96 crore to Rs 7.84 crore and BJP president Rajnath Singh's assets by 96% from Rs 1.49 crore to Rs 2.92 crore. 

Clearly, the business of politics is the best. 

The assets of Ramashankar Katheria, re-elected from Agra on a BJP ticket, grew by 869% from Rs 15.11 lakh to Rs 1.46 crore. Incidentally, Katheria tops the all India list of re-elected MPs against whom pending criminal cases have increased. In fact, in 2009, Katheria had no case against him. But this time he has declared 21 cases which include charges related to criminal intimidation, cheating and dishonestly, forgery, attempt to murder, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and rioting. 

Varun and Rajnath are among few candidates who had declared criminal cases against them in 2009 but this time they declared none. Varun was facing six cases in 2009, related to an alleged hate speech he gave during elections, but he was acquitted last year. Rajnath had one case related to promoting communal disharmony but was given the clean chit by police earlier this year. 

Jagdambika Pal, the turncoat who won in 2009 from Domariaganj on a Congress ticket but shifted loyalty to BJP this time, is among the handful of the politicians in the country whose assets have declined. In 2009, he owned Rs 4.78 crore worth assets, which this time dropped to Rs 1.78 crore.

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