Most UP MLAs saw big increases in wealth in 5 yrs, but some lost big

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The average Uttar Pradesh MLA saw their wealth increase by 82% in the five years during their tenure in the state assembly from 2012 to 2017, an analysis of their wealth submissions by Association for Democratic Reforms found.

The analysis was based on the filings made by 311 of the 404 existing members of the UP legislative assembly who have opted to stand for re-election this time.

The others’ data couldn’t be captured as they no longer have to declare their wealth.

Out of the 311 MLAs, only 16 MLAs reported a decline in their total assets, while 95% of the MLAs reported an increase in wealth.

STAR ‘PERFORMERS’

In percentage terms, MLAs beloning to the ruling Samajwadi Party outperformed all others in terms of wealth growth, though BSP members put up a tough fight.

One of the ‘best performers’ in this regard was Anup Kumar Gupta, the Samajwadi MLA from Maholi constituency in Sitapur district of the state.

Gupta increased his wealth from a modest 6.73 cr in 2012 to a whopping 42.07 cr in 2017 — an average increase of over Rs 7 cr per year or nearly Rs 60 lakhs per month.

Similarly, Brahma Shankar Tripathi, also an SP member and the MLA from Kushinagar constituency increased his wealth from just 2.94 cr in 2012 to Rs 23.7 cr in five years.

Not far behind was Mukhtar Ansari, the Bahujan Samaj Party MLA from Mau constituency. Ansari, who is often portrayed as a don by the media, saw his wealth increase from a mere 3.07 cr in 2012 to 21.9 cr by 2017.

These were all the percentage gainers.

The highest increase in wealth on a gross or rupee basis was reported by BSP MLA Shah Alam alias Guddu Jamali of the Mubarakpur constituency in Azamgarh. Jamali’s wealth more than doubled from 54 cr in 2012 to 118 cr at the end of his tenure.

The official salary of an MLA in the UP Assembly was Rs 10,000 per month through most of the last five-year term. It was increased to Rs 25,000 in September last year. MLAs also get a constituency allowance of Rs 30,000 when the assembly was not in session. This allowance was increased to Rs 50,000 in September.

PARTIES

The ‘best performing’ party in terms of percentage increase in the assets of its MLAs was the ruling Samajwadi Party. On average, its 162 MLAs doubled their assets in five years.

However, from an absolute perspective, it was the BSP MLAs that left everyone behind.

Even though they were able to increase their wealth by only 92% (compared to 99% for SP), their actual increase in rupee terms was double that of the SP MLAs.

The reason? BSP’s MLAs started out with substantially higher wealth under their belt compared to all the others.

While the average wealth declared by a Samajwadi MLA was 2.43 cr, the average BSP MLA was worth Rs 5.23 cr in 2012.

By 2017, the average SP MLA’s net worth had increased to Rs 4.84 cr, but the average BSP MLA was now worth Rs 10.03 cr.

The BJP and the Indian National Congress didn’t do too poorly either.

The Congress MLAs were able to increase their wealth by 65% and the BJP MLAs by 62%.

Even though it is said that the Congress and the BJP get most of their candidates from ‘forward communities’ and the BSP is the champion of the Dalits, that difference was not coming across in the numbers.

The average worth of a BJP MLA was 6.11 cr in 2017, while the average assets owned by a Congress MLA seeking re-election was 7.54 cr — both substantially lower than the Rs 10.03 cr reported by BSP MLAs seeking re-election.

In that sense, the Samajwadi Party — which translates as Socialist Party — can claim to be more egalitarian as their MLAs were only worth Rs 4.84 cr on average, though they reported the fastest increases in their assets.

In terms of performance, however, it was Rakesh Kumar Verma, the lone MLA belonging to the Apna Dal, who left everyone behind.

The representative of Vishvanathganj constituency in Pratapgarh constituency, who was elected in May 2014, saw his wealth go from just Rs 5.97 lakh in 2012 to Rs 7.27 cr in 2017 — an increase of over 12,000%.

Verma was the best performer from a percentage returns perspective.

‘LOSERS’

Though only 5% of the MLAs reported a decline in wealth, these included some who saw quite dramatic declines in their financial assets.

The biggest such case was that of Mohammad Ayub, the MLA from Khalilabad in Sant Kabir Nagar district. Ayub, who represents the Peace Party, saw his wealth decline from 18.7 cr in 2012 to just Rs 3.45 cr in 2017 — a fall of 82%.

With a loss of over Rs 15.2 cr, Ayub was the MLA who lost the most amount of assets over the 5-year tenure.

Out of the four representatives who saw a decline of Rs 1 cr or more in their assets, two — Tasleem Ahmad from Najibabad and Mohammad Rehan from Lucknow West — were from the ruling Samajwadi Party, one — Noor Salem Rana of Charthawal — was from the BSP and the remaining one was from the Peace Party as mentioned above.

‘POOREST’ MLAs

In addition to the ‘losers’, there were several MLAs who started their tenure with hardly any assets and ended their tenures with hardly any.

Many of the poorest MLAs belonged to the Samajwadi Party, which could explain why the average net worth of the party’s MLAs was a fraction of that of other parties’.

The ‘poorest’ MLA seeking re-election is Ajay Kumar Lallu of the Bahujan Samaj Party. Lallu started out with just Rs 96,586 worth of assets and ended his five-year tenure with a modest 3.29 lakh worth of assets.

The second such case was that of Dr Diya Ram Sagar of the Samajwadi Party. Dr Sagar started out with Rs 30 lakhs worth of assets in 2012, only to lose nearly half of it while in office. According to his 2017 filing, his net worth had reduced to a just 15.53 lakh cr.

Another similar case was that of Tej Narayan, who represents the Ayodhya constituency for the SP. When he became an MLA in 2012, his total assets were worth Rs 66,612. Though his assets increased to 11.03 lakhs five years later, he was still among the ‘poorest’ MLAs in the Assembly.

You can also read the full report by ADR here.

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