From my article on Saturday’s violent election in Manipur:
a new report has found that politicians seeking re-election in the 60-seat assembly have seen a four-fold increase in their assets since joining parliament five years ago.
Co-authored by two non-governmental organisations, the Association for Democratic Reforms and North East Election Watch, the report looked at how much money incumbent candidates had made during their five years in power.
Under election rules, every candidate must provide details of their finances, as well as any criminal records and their academic background.
For the 41 members fighting to retain their seat this year, average personal wealth increased from 2.3 million to 12 million rupees (Dh171,000 to Dh893,000), an increase of 414 per cent.
The 27 members from the ruling Congress party had an average increase in personal wealth of 563 per cent, the report said.
Also, check out my colleague Suryatapa Bhattacharya’s look at why today’s election in Punjab is crucial for the Congress party:
With 800,000 unemployed college graduates, a stagnant economy and rampant corruption, Punjab’s state election tomorrow could do irreparable harm to India’s government.
Punjab is one of five of India’s 28 states holding elections in the next month that may well reshape the balance of power in the upper house of parliament.
While the polls will mostly be played out on local issues, they could indicate how unpopular the ruling Congress Party has become after a year of high-profile scandals, a populist anti-corruption movement and failure to push ahead with reforms.
Punjab, one of India’s wealthiest states and its major wheat producer, is a key battleground for the Congress party, which hopes to retake control of the state.
India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, is a Sikh from Punjab, and analysts say it is essential to the credibility of his government that his party can win back the state.
“Punjab is a face-saving state for the Congress,” said Rasheed Kidwai, the author of a book published in 2011 that examined the inner workings of the Congress party. “If they cannot win here, it will be very hard for them to push through reforms in the coming months.”