Nearly 31% have criminal cases pending against them
The newly-elected 182-member Assembly (13th) of Gujarat has young legislators, with larger assets and increased number of MLAs with criminal charges against them, according to an analysis of the criminal and financial background of elected representatives by Gujarat Election Watch (GEW).
GEW is the state chapter of National Election Watch (NEW) under the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).
For instance, only 43 MLAs are above the age of 61 years with two over 81 years of age. A big chunk of MLAs, 69, are in the age group of 51-60 years, followed by 47 in age-group of 41-50 years.
In the new assembly, 74%, that is a total of 134 out of the 182 MLAs are crorepatis, as against 31% in the previous assembly that was formed in 2007. Out of the 115 BJP MLAs elected to the 13th assembly 86 of them, that is 75%, are crorepatis. While for the Congress the figure is 43 out of 61 elected, that is 70%.
The average assets of Congress MLAs is Rs 12.36 crore, while that of BJP MLAs is Rs 5.82 crore followed by NCP (2 MLAs) with Rs 15.61 crore, JDU (1 MLA) Rs 2.70 crore and Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) (2 MLA) Rs 1.52 crore.
The MLA with maximum declared assets was Balvansinh Rajput of Congress from Siddhpur in Patan district. His had declared assets worth Rs 268 crore, followed by Indranil Rajguru of Congress from Rajkot East with assets of Rs 122 crore and Jawahar Chavda also a Congress MLA, from Manavadar, with assets of Rs 82.90 crore.
According to Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member of NEW, "higher the assets, the more are the chances of winning for an MLA." He said that in Gujarat 2012 assembly election, 51% MLAs who declared assets more than Rs 5 crore and above have won. "On the other hand, only 1% of MLAs with assets less than Rs 20 lakh could win," Chhokar, former director of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) added.
The analysis by GEW has been done on basis of the affidavits filed by the candidates before the Election Commission of India.
It has also analysed affidavits of 99 MLAs who contested in 2007 as well as in 2012. Average growth in assets of these MLAs was Rs 5.06 crore or an average increase of 230%. While out of the 99 MLAs whose affidavits are comparable, 65 are from BJP with average increase in assets at 177% while for the Congress the increase was 412%.
The highest growth of assets in actual terms was of Congress MLA Jawahar Chavda from Manavadar. His assets has witnessed increase of Rs 64.57 crore (from Rs 18.32 crore in 2007 to Rs 82.90 crore in 2012). In terms of percentage increase, BJP MLA from Dhrangadhra Jayanti Kavadiya's assets went from Rs 10.50 lakh in 2007 to Rs 5.91 crore in 2012. This comes to increase of 5525%.
As far as criminal cases are concerned 57 (31%) newly-elected MLAs have declared criminal cases pending against them as against 47 (26%) MLAs in 2007. Out of the 57 MLAs, 24 have serious criminal charges against them which include murder, rape, attempt to murder, kidnapping and theft.
The party-wise break up shows that out of 115 BJP MLAs elected 32 (28%) have criminal cases pending against them, while 20 (33%) out of 61 elected Congress MLAs have criminal cases against them.
Talking about educational background of 2012 MLAs, Chhokar said that 45% (82 out of 182) had qualification of graduation and above. On Representation of women in the state assembly, he said that there was no change. In 2007 there were 16 women elected representatives, and the figure was the same in 2012.
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