Who says Gujarat has not developed? Going by the disclosures made in the affidavits filed in 2007 and 2012 by 99 MLAs, the assets and incomes of many of legislators grew by as much as 5000% in just five years. The 99 MLAs are those who were contesting elections for the second time or more in 2012.
This is revealed in a report released on Monday by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) — an organisation campaigning for electoral reforms. The report says that the assets of the 99 MLAs had grown by an average of 230% or more in the last five years.
The ADR had prepared its report by analysing and comparing the disclosures made in the affidavits filed by the MLAs for the elections in 2007 and 2012.
On an average, the assets declared by these MLAs in 2007 were worth Rs2.20 crore. In 2012, this had shot up to Rs7.27 crore. The average increase in the assets of the 99 MLAs is Rs5.06 crore in five years.
Incidentally, the assets of opposition MLAs posted higher growth than those of the ruling party. The assets of BJP’s 65 MLAs who were contesting elections for the second time in 2012, had grown on an average by 177% as compared to the average 412% growth posted by the assets of 33 such Congress MLAs.
BJP MLA from Dhrangadhra constituency, Jayanti Kavadiya, has declared highest percentage increase — of 5525% — in his assets — from Rs10.50 lakh in 2007 to Rs5.91 crore in 2012.
Congress MLA from Dahod (ST) seat, Vajesing Panada, has shown percentage increase in his assets of 3784% — from Rs4.40 lakh in 2007 to Rs1.70 crore in 2012. Ahmedabad-based Congress MLA from Danilimda (SC) seat, Shailesh Parmar, has registered a 2944% increase in his assets — from Rs. 96.15 lakh in 2007 to Rs. 29.26 crores in 2012.
Out of the 99 MLAs, only two reported decrease in their assets. Apparently, the fruits of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s development agenda did not reach these two legislators, both of whom belong to the BJP. One of them is minister of state for finance and industries Saurabh Patel and the other is BJP MLA from Rajkot South, Govind Patel.
Saurabh Patel has declared a 13% reduction in the worth of his assets — from Rs65.29 crore in 2007 to Rs56.60 crore in 2012 —while Govind Patel’s assets have decreased from Rs1.48 crore in 2007 to Rs1.43 crore in 2012.
Commenting on huge increase in the assets of most MLAs who were contesting elections for the second time or more in 2012, founder-member of ADR, Prof Jagdeep Chhokar, said that 134 out of 182 MLAs are crorepatis.
“This means 74% MLAs are crorepatis in 2012 while there were only 31% crorepati MLAs in 2007,” he said.
Giving a detailed analysis of the affidavits, Prof Chhokar said that it seemed a candidate with more assets had a better chance of winning.
“There are 51% MLAs in Gujarat assembly who declared assets worth Rs5 crore and above. They have won. On the other hand, only 1% of the MLAs with assets of less than Rs20 lakh could win. The money power of candidates appears to have a direct bearing on the outcome of the elections,” Chhokhar said. “It might be argued that land prices had gone up in the last five years. But they did not increase by 1000% or 5000%. All the MLAs should be questioned about the steep rise in their assets,” he added.