A recent report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has shed light on the financial and legal status of legislators in Madhya Pradesh, revealing that the state’s political landscape is dominated by crorepatis, with a large percentage facing criminal charges. The report highlights the substantial growth in the average wealth of MLAs over the past 15 years.
As per the report, Madhya Pradesh, where the per capita income of an average citizen is approximately ₹11,000 per month, boasts an astonishing statistic – a staggering 81% of the current 230 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are crorepatis, individuals with assets exceeding one crore rupees. This disparity is a cause for concern, as the report points out, given the significant contrast with the average income of the state’s population.
The report also discloses that the 230 sitting MLAs, elected in 2018, collectively possess assets worth ₹10.76 crore on average. This figure represents a substantial 105% increase compared to the ₹5.24 crore average assets held by each MLA elected in the 2013 Madhya Pradesh assembly elections. More strikingly, it marks a significant 647% surge from the ₹1.44 crore average wealth status of the 230 total MLAs elected in 2008.
The study further delves into the party-wise distribution of wealth among MLAs, revealing that 83% of the 129 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs are crorepatis, while 78% of the 97 Congress legislators have assets exceeding one crore rupees. Additionally, three out of the four independent MLAs in the state are also crorepati.
The report highlights a substantial increase in the number of crorepati MLAs over the years. In the 2008 elections, there were just 84 crorepati MLAs, a figure that grew by 92% to 161 in the 2013 elections. By the 2018 polls, this number increased by 15.5% to reach a total of 186 crorepati MLAs.
Among the wealthiest MLAs in Madhya Pradesh, ex-minister and BJP MLA Sanjay Pathak stands out as the richest with declared assets worth ₹226 crore, marking a 60% increase from his ₹141 crore worth in 2013. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath ranks sixth on the list with total declared assets amounting to ₹124 crore. Incumbent Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan holds assets worth over ₹7 crore, according to the affidavit filed during the 2018 polls.
On the other end of the spectrum, the report highlights the plight of the poorest lawmakers in the state. Six BJP MLAs and four Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh own the lowest assets. For example, BJP’s first-time tribal MLA from the Pandhana seat, Ram Dangore, has assets worth ₹50,000, while third-time BJP MLA and minister Usha Thakur has assets worth ₹7 lakh. Ruling party’s tribal MLA Sharad Kol is also on the list with total assets worth ₹8.4 lakh.
The ADR report also brings to light the prevalence of criminal cases among MLAs, with 40% of legislators in Madhya Pradesh having criminal cases against them, and 20% facing serious criminal charges. The breakdown reveals that 30% of the total 129 BJP MLAs have criminal cases, with 16% accused in serious criminal cases. In Congress, 54% of the total 97 MLAs have criminal cases against them, and 26% of them face serious criminal charges.
Regarding the educational qualifications of Madhya Pradesh MLAs, the report indicates that out of the current 230 MLAs, 59 hold post-graduate degrees, with 35 from the BJP and 24 from Congress. The report also reveals that 55 legislators (28 from BJP, 26 from Congress, and one independent MLA) are graduates, while 39 (25 from BJP, 13 from Congress, and one Independent) are graduate professionals. Additionally, five MLAs (four from BJP and one from Congress) hold doctorates, while four (two from BJP, one from Congress, and one independent) have professional diplomas. Notably, 35 MLAs have passed Class 12, 12 legislators have completed Class 10, seven have passed Class 8, eight have passed Class 5, five (four from BJP and one from BSP) are literate, and one BJP MLA is illiterate.