Among repeat candidates in Bihar polls, financial assets grow 24.4%
Does it make sense to seek a career in politics in India? The answer is a resounding yes.
If you want an example, take a look at the officially-declared assets of the candidates in the Bihar polls, who also stood in the elections five years ago. There are 160 of them, and the data, analysed by the Association of Democratic Reforms, throws up some startling figures.
- The average assets of these 160 candidates in 2015.
- This is equivalent to the on-road price of five top-of-the-line Mercedes Benz C-Class cars (in Delhi).
- In 2010, these candidates' average assets were Rs 86 lakh.
- This means that in five years, their financial worth has grown by 24.4%.
- About 10% of these candidates were women.
- Average assets among women candidates who re-contested in 2015.
- For this amount, they can buy two luxury villas in upmarket Gurgaon.
- Financial assets of Bihar's women candidates increased by nearly 30% in five years.
- On the other hand, the male candidates' average financial worth was just Rs 2.2 crore.
- It is popularly assumed that these increasing assets are thanks to corruption. But often, it is simple appreciation of property and gold.
- The percentage increase in assets among the 134 candidates who contested both the 2005 and 2010 elections.
- The average assets in 2005 were Rs 32 lakh, which increased to Rs 70 lakh in the 2010 election.
- Clearly, the 2015 election was not an aberration. Past data reveals a similar pattern.
- The average assets among candidates from Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal who were re-contesting in 2015.
- This is almost equal to the salary drawn by Bihar's 243 legislators every month, approximately Rs 4 crore.
- RJD politicians are generally identified with corruption, rather than efficient administration.
- The percentage increase among RJD candidates in the last five years is 15%.
- Even adjusting for factors such as inflation, these are big numbers.
- The percentage by which finances of Janata Dal (United) candidates increased in five years - the highest among the major stakeholders in this election.
- They are closely followed by Bharatiya Janata Party candidates, whose finances improved by 23.9%.
- Much of Bihar's stellar economic growth looks pale in comparison with the politicians' own economic growth.
- The average assets among the candidates in Patna district, the most developed region in the state.
- In comparison, the per capita income in Patna is abysmally low - Rs 63,063 (just over Rs 5,000 per month).
- Munger and Begusarai are the second and third-most developed regions in the state, where per capita income stands at Rs 22,051 and Rs 17,587 respectively.
- Candidates in both these regions have average assets worth Rs 1.6 crore.
(With inputs from Mohan Ramnath)