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Millionaires in Rajya Sabha: Over 50 percent Rajya Sabha members are Crorepatis

Bhopal, April 11 (IANS) More than half of the Rajya Sabha members are Crorepatis (multi-millionaires) and 17 percent are facing criminal charges according to their own declarations in their affidavits, says National Election Watch (NEW), an organisation working for electoral reforms.

Besides, there are only nine per cent women MPs in the Upper House, says NEW which has raised serious questions about the intention of political parties vis-a-vis their oft-repeated claims that they want to field common people, who do not have resources and muscle power, and also talk about giving substantial representation to women but fail to do so due to "electoral compulsions".

"The analysis done by the organisation on the background of Rajya Sabha MPs is based on the analysis of assets and liabilities detailed in their affidavits at the time of their election," NEW's national coordinator Anil Bairwal told IANS.

Bairwal said a total of 98 Rajya Sabha MPs out of the 183 (54 percent) analysed were Crorepatis (multi-millionaires) as on March 31, 2009. On the other hand, in the current Lok Sabha, 315 out of 543 MPs (58 percent) were Crorepatis.

Bairwal said Rajya Sabha elections and also legislative council elections do not require huge expenses unlike elections to Lok Sabha and the state assemblies. Still, when it comes to fielding candidates for elections to these bodies, the political parties, irrespective of their ideologies, mostly field financially influential persons and also persons with dubious credentials.

Amongst major parties, 65 percent of Congress Rajya Sabha MPs were multi-millionaires, while 53 percent of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha MPs were in this league.

According to Bairwal, when analysed statewise, the maximum number of Crorepati Rajya Sabha MPs were from UP (17 out of 26 or 65 percent) followed by Maharashtra (13 out of 15 or 87 percent). He said the highest assets - Rs.3 billion - were owned by Rahul Bajaj (independent) from Maharashtra followed by M.A.M. Ramaswamy of the Janata Dal-Secular (Rs.2.7 billion) from Karnataka.

Two of the Rajya Sabha MPs, who had declared zero assets were CPI's D. Raja from Tamil Nadu and CPI-M's Saman Pathak from West Bengal. Amongst MPs with low assets, Abani Roy from West Bengal has Rs.72,000 followed by Brinda Karat from West Bengal with Rs.1.74 lakh.

However, film actress and Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan had movable and immovable properties worth over Rs.2.1 billion while her family friend Amar Singh's assets were estimated at over Rs.795 million.

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