DELHI: Democracy is an abundance of riches, as the worth of the new occupants of the Upper House benches is being revealed in the run up to Rajya Sabha 2014. Thirty-six out of 55—over 70 per cent—are crorepatis. Property is one of the major wealth factors listed and many of the new candidates are businessmen who have entered politics or vice versa. Bihar might be one of the poorest states in India and seeking special category status, but the richest candidate in the new pantheon of Elders is security services millionaire R K Sinha, a BJP nominee. The combined declared assets of Sinha and wife is around Rs 800 crore. Standing behind him is an Independent candidate from Maharastra, the Pune-based real estate moghul Sanjay Kakade, who has declared assets worth Rs 485 crore.
Maharashtra is the land of sugar and honey, and all its seven candidates including Republican Party of India boss, Ramdas Athawale are crorepatis. Agriculture Minister and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar has declared assets exceeding Rs 32 crore. Advocate Majid Menon (NCP) has shown property worth around Rs 23 crore. Congress senior leader Murli Deora has property around Rs 28 crore. Congressman Hussain Dalwai has declared property worth more than Rs 4 crore. Shiv Sena candidate and Videocon owner Raj Kumar Dhoot’s declared assets are worth around Rs 19 crore. Athawale may be a Buddhist by faith and a poet by inclination, but he seems to be worth Rs 3 crore.
The next Rajya Sabha will see a wealth of millionaires. Three candidates from Madhya Pradesh, two from Jharkhand and almost all seven candidates from Andhra Pradesh are crorepatis. From Odisha, the 6th poorest state in the country, five candidates are in the fray for four Rajya Sabha seats. Property maketh the man, it seems and the richest among them is former minister and BJD MLA A U Singhdeo who owns property more than Rs 11 crore. Congress candidate Ranjiv Biswal has declared property worth about Rs 5 crore; Panchayati Raj Minister Kalpataru Das more than Rs 2 crore; BJD backed independent candidate Raghunath Mohapatra worth more than Rs 3 crore and BJD’s Sarojini Hembrum has property around more than Rs 1 crore.
Andhra Pradesh known for its mining magnates and rich businessmen throws up few surprises in the richie rich category. All seven candidates in the fray, except M A Khan are crorepatis. According to affidavits, the Congress candidate and versatile biz-politico and Tollywood powerhouse T Subbarami Reddy and his wife Indira have assets worth about Rs 422 crore. Independent candidate, gentleman farmer and entrepreneur Adala Prabhakar Reddy declared assets worth Rs 128 crore. Congress senior leader KVP Ramachander Rao’s worth is about Rs 23 crore—a politician, he comes from family in the exports business. The TDP is no poorer—its candidate Garikapati Mohan Rao declared a net worth about Rs 38 crore. Another TDP candidate Ramalakshmi declared assets of more than Rs 6 crore. Telangana makes its millionaire mark with TRS candidate K Kesava Rao declaring assets worth more than Rs 3 crore.
In Madhya Pradesh, Congress candidate Digivijay Singh and former Raja of Ragogarh, returning from a decade of ‘vanaprastha’ declared assets worth more than Rs 2 crore. Both BJP candidates Prabha Jha and Satya Narayan Jatiya has assets more than Rs 1 crore. The development index of Gujarat is reflected in its RS candidate list: among the four candidates from the state, three are crorepatis. Madhusudhan Mistry of Congress is worth more than Rs 1 crore. BJP candidates Shabhuprasad Tundia and Chinibhai Gohil are worth more than Rs 2.5 crore and Rs 11 crore respectively. From Assam, both Congress candidates Sanjay Singh, former Raja of Amethi and Bhubaneshwar Kalita have declared assets worth more than Rs 6 crore.
Resource rich, tribal Jharkhand has two candidates, both crorepatis. Independent candidate Parimal Nathwani has assets worth more than Rs 50 crore and Prem Chand Gupta, supported by the UPA has assets worth more than Rs 6 crore. Veteran Congresswoman and Rajya Sabha candidate from Himachal Pradesh Viplove Thakur has declared assets more than Rs 1 crore.
The Trinamool Congress candidate from West Bengal, the Chandigarh based businessman KD Singh has owned up to property worth more than Rs 80 crore. Yesteryear silver screen’s disco dancer Mithun Chakraborty has assets around Rs 10 crore. In Tamil Nadu, AIADMK candidate S Muthukaruppan has shown property worth more than Rs 6 crore.
According to a recent survey by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the National Election Watch, Mahendra Prasad of the Janata Dal (United) is at present the richest Rajya Sabha MP, with total assets worth Rs 683 crore, followed by Independent member Vijay Mallya with Rs 615 crore and Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan worth Rs 493 crore.