16th Lok Sabha will be richest, have most MPs with criminal charges

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Telugu Desam Party MP Jayadev Galla, with an asset of 683 crore, is India’s riches MP

This Lok Sabha will have the highest proportion of MPs with criminal cases against them and will also be the richest, since 2004, when declaring criminal cases became legally mandatory in India.

Over a third, or 34% of new MPs face criminal charges, data from the Association for Democratic Reforms’ (ADR) analysis of election affidavits filed before the Election Commission of India (ECI) shows, as against 30% in 2009 and 24% in 2004, that was the first Lok Sabha election for which the filing of election affidavits became compulsory following a PIL filed by ADR.

Among the major parties, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), with all of its four MPs facing criminal charges, led, followed the Shiv Sena (15 of 18 MPs) and the Nationalist Congress Party (4 of 5 MPs). Over a third of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) new MPs face criminal charges and over a fifth face serious criminal charges. For the Congress, the proportion is lower at 18% and 7% respectively.

Across parties, candidates facing criminal procedures were more than twice as likely to win as compared to candidates with a clean record, ADR data shows. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have the highest proportion of candidates facing criminal procedures.

With 82% of its members worth over Rs. 1 crore each, this will also be the richest known Lok Sabha, compared to 2009 (58%) and 2004 (30%). Crorepati candidates are ten times more likely to win than a candidate worth less than Rs. 1 crore.

The three Andhra Pradesh parties — the TDP, TRS and YSRCP — have the richest MPs, with the average assets of each of their MPs being over Rs. 50 crore. India’s richest MP — Jayadev Galla of Guntur — is worth Rs. 683 crore and is also from the TDP, while the three next richest MPs are also from Andhra Pradesh. The average Congress MP is worth over Rs. 16 crore, BJP candidates over Rs. 11 crore and the CPI(M) has the poorest candidates, with average assets of Rs. 79 lakh. India’s poorest MP is Uma Saren of the Trinamool Congress.

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