93% of ministers in Bihar government are millionaires, according to ADR report

Patna: Nearly 100 per cent of ministers in the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in Bihar are millionaires, according to the latest report of the election watchdog.

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The total number of ministers in the NDA government has moved up to 31 after expansion of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar Cabinet on Tuesday (February 9).

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As per the report of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Election Watch released on Thursday, as many as 93 per cent of the ministers in the Bihar government are millionaires.

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Nomination papers

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The election watchdogs released the report after conducting an analysis of properties of 28 ministers out of total 31 who had submitted self-sworn affidavits to the Election Commission during the filing of nomination papers.

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According to the report, the average assets of 28 ministers analysed is Rs44.6 millions with water resources minister Sanjay Jha owning the highest declared total assets worth Rs223.7 million. However, the minister with the lowest declared total assets is minority welfare minister Mohammad Zama Khan who owns property worth Rs3 million.

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The report also states that as many as 64 per cent ministers in the NDA government in the state have serious criminal cases pending against them, such as attempt to murder. The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has the largest number (or 79 per cent) of ministers with criminal antecedents while 36 percent of such ministers belong to the Janata Dal United (JD-U) led by chief minister Kumar.

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This is not the end of the story. As many as 68 per cent lawmakers elected to the Bihar assembly face criminal charges as all attempts by the Election Commission to check entry of gangsters into politics suffered badly. The elections to the Bihar assembly were held in October/November.

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The ADR report says 163 lawmakers out of total 243 getting elected to the Bihar assembly have declared criminal cases.

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Criminal charges

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In the previous House, 142 state lawmakers or 58 per cent lawmakers faced criminal charges. As per ADR report, of the 163 elected lawmakers having criminal antecedents, 123 face serious criminal charges such as murder, attempts to murder and violence against women.

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The development indeed looks very alarming given the efforts launched by the Election Commission to check criminalisation of politics ahead of the elections.

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The Election Commission in the light of the Supreme Court’s ruling had ordered all the political parties to publish on their websites, social media handles and in national newspapers the details of criminal cases pending against the candidates they are giving tickets along with the reasons that compelled them to field suspected criminals over decent persons with the objectives to make voters know about such candidates.

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Yet such efforts failed to restrict the number of criminal-politicians, instead their number increased by 10 per cent.

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