Is politics all about money! A look at affidavits filed by election candidates reveals that majority of the prominent political figures are at least crorepatis.
Most of the contestants have movable and immovable assets worth crores of rupees. According to a study by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), in the Indian politics, people with high assets have higher chances of winning the election.
Such is the state of affairs in Gujarat that candidates will be seen moving in high-end cars like Jaguar and Porsche. A few of the candidates have assets worth crores of rupees in Mumbai.
Minister of state for fisheries (junior) Parsottam Solanki declared that he has four shops in Mumbai, the largest one with an area of 1,000 sq m.
Congress candidate for Kamrej in Surat, Bhagirath Pithavdiwala, has two Jaguar cars and a Porsche car worth over Rs3.25 crore. Pithavdiwala has mentioned in his affidavit that he purchased all these cars on bank loans.
The richest candidate so far is Indranil Rajguru, the Congress candidate for Rajkot (East). Talking to DNA, he said, “I don’t mix politics with money. I will win the election not on the basis of money, but because of the connection I have with people,” he said. Rajguru has declared assets of worth Rs122 crore.
The biggest shock among all the affidavits filed on Saturday came from finance minister and BJP strongman Vajubhai Vala who has declared assets worth Rs75 lakh.
As per his declaration, Kalsaria is one of the poorest candidates with assets worth Rs9.50 lakh. Talking to DNA over phone from Mahuva, he said, “Being passionate about working for people is what matters to me, not my assets.
However, experts believe that political parties cannot do without money. Talking to DNA on phone from Delhi, one of the founding members of ADR, professor Jagdeep Chhokar said, “Majority of the money spent by candidates during elections is black. Political parties know that this money can come only from rich people, so they prefer candidates who can spend that kind of money.”
Chhokar further said that only internal democracy within political parties could solve this problem. “People at the grass root level should be given a chance ahead of the one contesting only on the basis of money,” he said. However, he added that money of the candidate is the prime concern of political parties.