Business Standard

New Rajya Sabha MPS worth over ~4,600 crore


The majority of states have elected Rajya Sabha members who are richer than before, with the total value of the assets of the new Members of Parliament (MPS) collective­ly worth more than ~4,600 crore.

The average assets of Rajya Sabha members in 2024 are higher in 10 of the 15 states with new MPS.

The average assets are the highest in Uttar Pradesh (~225 crore) and Andhra Pradesh (~ 201 crore). The average MP is worth more than ~1 crore in each of the 15 states.

The median numbers show a similar trend, with the average MPS in each state worth at least ~1 crore. Andhra Pradesh tops the list with median assets of ~118 crore. Uttar Pradesh’s numbers are skewed by a few rich individual­s.

The richest newly elected MP is from Uttar Pradesh (Jaya Bachchan with ~1,578.9 crore). The others in the top five include Meda Raghunadha Reddy, Naveen Jain, Prafulbhai Manoharbha­i Patel, and Govindbhai Laljibhai Dholakia.

They are worth between ~270 crore and ~480 crore.

Four of the bottom five MPS are worth ~1 crore. West Bengal’s Balyogi Umeshnath is the poorest, worth ~50 lakh.

The total value of the assets of the 55 MPS is ~4,658 crore. This excludes data for Karnataka’s GC Chandrashe­kar for whom the informatio­n was not available. To put things into perspectiv­e, the Election Commission’s spending for 2023-24 was ~466.04 crore, according to the revised figures in the Union Budget.

The average assets of the winning candidates in the recently concluded Rajya Sabha elections is ~84.7 crore, an increase of 23 per cent since 2018.

In 2018, the average assets of the sitting MPS from the same 15 states was ~68.9 crore, according to data from the Delhi-based Associatio­n for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Voters tend to disapprove of wealth accumulati­on in office and associate it with corruption and political violence, according to a 2019 study entitled, ‘Getting Rich Too Fast? Voters’ Reactions to Politician­s’ Wealth Accumulati­on,’ from authors including Leiden University’s Simon Chauchard, Georgetown University’s Marko Klašnja, and SP Harish from the College of William and Mary. The authors noted that such politician­s do continue to win elections.

“Voters generally lack informatio­n about disclosure­s and many weigh wealth accumulati­on less than other prominent concerns, such as performanc­e in office or castebased appeals,” it said.

The very wealthy are more likely to run for office across the world, noted another 2023 study titled, ‘Billionair­e Politician­s: A Global Perspectiv­e’ from Northweste­rn University authors Daniel Krcmaric, Stephen C. Nelson, and Andrew Roberts.

The study examined 2,000 billionair­es and found that 11 per cent stood for office. This is higher than most other groups.

“Moreover, billionair­es focus their political ambitions on influentia­l positions, have a strong track record of winning elections, and lean to the right ideologica­lly. We also document substantia­l cross-national variation: a country’s number of billionair­e politician­s is not simply a product of its total number of billionair­es, but is instead related to the regime type. Specifical­ly, billionair­es formally enter the political sphere at a much higher rate in autocracie­s than in democracie­s,” it said.

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