Delhi votes in the Assembly election on February 8. But who are the people voters will choose from? As with any person, there are multiple facets of a candidate that weigh on a voter’s choice. What values or policies do they represent? What is their social background? Are they accused of any crime? And, given how much influence money has come to have on elections in India, what’s their material condition? In this article, we look at this last aspect.
We looked at data on their assets that candidates of all three major parties in Delhi – the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Aam Aadmi Party – have supplied to the Election Commission. Here are a few takeaways.
Average net worth of the 66 candidates fielded by the Congress is around Rs 9 crore. It’s around Rs 13.3 crore for AAP, which has fielded 70 candidates, and Rs 8.7 crore for the BJP, which has 67 candidates in the fray.
Average net worth per candidate comes to around Rs 13.5 lakh for the Congress, around Rs 12 lakh for the BJP, and Rs Rs 13.6 lakh for AAP.
Of course, the net worth is way higher than the average for some candidates and much lower for others. Here are the five richest candidates and the five “poorest”.
Dharampal Lakra, AAP
Net worth Rs 286 crore
The richest candidate of any party in the fray. His assets are mostly immovable, that’s land and real estate. Lakra, a businessman, is fighting his first election, from Mundka. He has a criminal case against him of abetment to corruption. It is being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Ram Singh Netaji, AAP
Net worth Rs 74 crore
A former MLA, he won as an independent in 2003 and with the Bahujan Samaj Party in 2008. He later moved to the Congress and joined AAP in January 2020. He’s declared his profession as “agriculturalist”. There’s no criminal case against him.
Parmila Tokas, AAP
Net worth Rs 69 crore
A sitting AAP legislator, the businesswoman was convicted along with her husband for assaulting a government official in 2015. Last year, the Times of India that Tokas could be sentenced to two years in prison or fined or both. The case was filed by the Central Public Works Department. She is contesting from RK Puram.
Priyanka Singh, Congress
Net worth Rs 66 crore
She is the daughter of former Speaker Yoganand Shastri. Her net worth includes the assets of her spouse. She does not have immovable assets of her. Priyanka is currently vice president of the Delhi Mahila Congress. Her tax returns show a total income of Rs 33 lakh last year. In an interview with the Quint, she said, “Anybody in India can be a political activist if he or she wants to. Just because I happen to be born into a political family, why should I be deprived of that right or be demeaned if I happen to choose it?”
Brahm Singh Tanwar, BJP
Net worth Rs 65 crore
A former MLA, Tanwar was accused of sexual assault in 2018 and faces charges of criminal intimidation as well. He has listed his profession as “social worker”. He is contesting from Chhatarpur.
On the other end of the spectrum, here are the five candidates with the least wealth.
Akhilesh Pati Tripathi, AAP
Net worth - Rs 12 lakh
The sitting legislator from Model Town, Tripathi’s net worth is in the negative: his total assets are worth around Rs 15 lakh but his contingent liabilities are around Rs 27 lakh. His election affidavit states his liabilities are towards “office space under PWD” allotted to the MLA. “There’s a dispute amount claimed by PWD and the dispute is pending before Delhi Vidhan Sabha,” it adds.
Rocky Tuseed, Congress
Net worth Rs 55,500
The youngest candidate in the fray is a former student leader. He was declared a “proclaimed person” by the Delhi High Court this month, after failing to appear for a hearing in a property defacement case. Tuseed told the : “I have no knowledge about the order.” In 2018, Tuseed was removed from the post of the Delhi University Students Union chief after he was convicted of furnishing false information in his affidavit.
Raj Kumar, BJP
Net worth Rs 56,000
He has declared that he’s a social worker. He is contesting from Kondli.
Rakhi Birla, AAP
Net worth Rs 76,000
The youngest deputy speaker of the Delhi Assembly ever. She worked with a TV news channel and was an active social worker before entering politics with AAP.
Durgesh Pathak, AAP
Net worth Rs 1 lakh
AAP’s Karawal Nagar candidate is an influential leader in the party. The party’s official website describes him thus, “He is the National Organisation Building in charge of the party, and was instrumental in building a strong grassroots organisation in Delhi before the 2015 Assembly election and in Punjab before the 2017 Assembly election. Durgesh was jointly in charge of Punjab affairs until March, 2017.”
Total amounts of the net worth of candidates are rounded off.
Research inputs by Kanwar Singh Sidhu.