With state elections over in Karnataka, some facts about the financial accounts of former MLAs may not be entirely out of order. It is amazing how MLAs – at least quite a few of them – have got rich in the bare space of five years. According to a report released by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and published by The New Indian Express (April 5), the average asset value of MLAs in the 12th Karnataka Legislative Assembly (2004-2008) increased by a whopping 364 per cent and that of Ministers by 665 per cent in just four years.
While the average asset value of Ministers went up to Rs.6.96 crore in 2008 from Rs.91 lakh in 2004, the average value of MLAs went up to Rs.5.98 crore from Rs.1.29 crore. Among the legislators, the Congress had the highest number of rich MLAs. The average assets of Congress MLAs in 2008 stood at Rs. 9.55 crore which was more than double the asset value of JD(S) MLAs and BJP MLAs of Rs.4.43 crore and Rs.4.35 crore respectively. Isn’t that nice? As the report put it, “in fact, of the five richest MLAs, four — Vijayanagar MLA, M. Krishnappa, Shantinagar MLA, N.A. Harris, Kanakapur MLA, D.K. Shivakumar and Santosh Lad are from Congress. They together declared assets totalling Rs.350.98 crore.
Actually, according to another report in the same paper (24 April) Congress leader and former Minister D.K. Shivakumar reported the largest increase in assets of Rs. 175 crore. His assets grew to Rs.251.50 crore from a mere Rs.75.59 crore, a rise of 233 per cent. Another Congress leader who got rich is 29-year old Priya Krishna from Govindaraja constituency. He has declared his assets at Rs. 768 crore. Surely he has all the right credentials to teach youngsters how to get rich as an MLA?
The former Chief Minister of Karnataka, charged with corruption, B.S. Yeddyurappa, is a good man. He didn’t receive any money. But the Prerana Educational and Social Trust belonging to him and his family apparently received, if we are to believe media reports, a paltry sum of Rs. 44 crore by way of donations. The donations were received from 49 donors between 6 September 2006 and March 2011.
The BJP rightly claimed before the elections, that the party has been cleaned of corruption with the backing of Yeddyrappa, but one supposes that it came a bit too late. Now he has had his revenge. Becoming crorepatis following election to State Assemblies is now normal. According to The Times of India (March 5 ), 60 per cent of Meghalaya MLAs are crorepatis. One suspects that is par for the course. After all, the point could be made, why stand for elections if not to satisfy the urge to get rich?
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma’s assets rose by Rs. 11.07 crore from Rs. 3.43 crore in 2008 to Rs. 14.50 crore in 2013. Ngaitland Dhar, Congressman elected from Umrvi (Scheduled Tribes) constituency declared assets at Rs. 235.64 crore. Another Congress leader, Sniawbhalang Dhar showed the highest increase in assets from Rs. 75,074 in 2008 to Rs. 2.96 crore in 2013. These gentlemen must be men of extreme talent. Congressmen, it seems, are highly talented. They must hold classes for the likes of General Musharraf of Pakistan who, according to The Asian Age ( April 4) showed a net asset till June 2012 of a mere Rs. 64.50 crore, a substantial increase from his assets shown in 2011 of Rs. 51.60 crore. From 2009 to 2012 Musharraf did not pay income tax.
We do not know how much A. Raja, former Telecom Minister paid by way of income tax. He has been, as we all know, charged with corruption under the 2G scam but now we learn that the poor chap had consulted the Prime Minister on every step that he took and if he is to be blamed, so might be the Prime Minister.
A report on the scam was out some time ago for which the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) is blamed. The Committee’s conclusion is that the Prime Minister was misled by Mr. Raja who is now facing prosecution.
According to the paper, “Joint Parliamentary Committees have no history of uncovering truth in our country” and “they have been rather used to buy time for the government when they are formed and to cover up truth when the report is submitted”.
It turns out to be a made-to-order work with the aim of protecting the government and shielding the Prime Minister and the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram from adverse scrutiny and blame…. The JPC has done a badly biased and partisan job in aid of the ruling party and the government. It is embarrassing and shocking that the country has to take so blatant a misrepresentation of facts and a refusal to face the truth. It is the ruling party contingent in the Committee, and especially its brazenly unscrupulous head, who brought about this shame.” Now what can we make of this? In the first place, is the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh such an innocent that he can easily be taken for a ride, by A. Raja, as is being made? The matter is very serious. Deccan Herald has made serious charges against the Point Parliamentary Committee: can the public take the matter to court? Has the Prime Minister been vindicated when, as the Herald editorial says, “the Committee has selectively relied on facts to show that the Prime Minister’s office was innocent of any wrong-doing? The law must have the last word, especially considering that thanks to the 2G scam, the country has lost lakhs of crores of rupees.
��nr��Y�Zayout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none'>Gujarat need not necessarily be presented as a model for economic development. But consider this: In 2001, the per capita income in Gujarat was Rs: 17,227. Now it is Rs 57,508. In Bihar the same PCI in 2005 was Rs 7,914 and now it is Rs 15, 268. The poverty rate in Gujarat in 2001 was 23%, now it is 16.8% – a solid achievement. In Bihar, in 2005 it was 54.4%, now it is 53.1%. In Gujarat, in 2001, the upper primary School drop-out rate was 37.22% now it is a low 7.9% whereas in Bihar, in 2005 if that rate was a high 74.69%, now it is 55.14%.
In Gujarat in 2001 the investment in industry was to the amount of Rs. 66,068 crore but now it is a mighty Rs 2,005,000 crore. In Bihar the same in 2005 was Rs 40,730 crore and now it is Rs 319,000 crore. In 2001 in Gujarat the installed power capacity was 4,888 MW while now it is 23,437 MW. In Bihar in 2005 the same installed power capacity was a mere 598MW while now it is 1,850 MW. Do these figures mean anything?
Nitish Kumar is free to play to the gallery, but he is only becoming a figure of ridicule. The man cannot hold a candle to Modi and the sooner he is exposed, the better will be for all concerned. India has to be saved from the ravages the UPA has wrought and Modi, it must be made clear, is the one who could do it.