RTI – Who has more money, Lalu or Gowda?

A cheap and catchy headline to grab your attention, but I won’t disappoint. You can answer that question, and figure who ‘claimed’ to have more money a few years ago. Here is how.

Go to this page (EC’s candidate affidavits), jump to Karnataka, pick Hassan, and find Mr. Devegowda’s details. Thats right, you may know that our Election Commission has a ‘wealth’ of information on every candidate who contested Lok Sabha or state elections since 2003. What you not know is – thanks to RTI act’s proactive disclosure clause – its all online for us to see! Bank deposit details, income tax they paid, cars, plots, flats, shares and what not! (EC, shouldn’t you care about their privacy and blur the account and PAN numbers?)

Did you know that Mr Devegowda claims

  • Two cars, both ambassadors – 1974 and 2003 models (thats it!?
  • Immovable assets like plots in Kathriguppe village and where not. But not a third of Bangalore as they say :-). I didn’t find that famous Devegowda petrol bunk anywhere!
  • Diploma in civil engg from Hassan as his educational qualification

Of course, you have all these details for Mr Lalu Yadav as well. Just go Bihar -> Chhapra, and here you have it. His stuff is a bit lengthy (12 pages) not because he has a lot more to declare. It is so because unlike Mr Devegowda, he has had to list out his super large family. I think EC wants spouse and all dependents mentioned. Having lots of cases filed against you doesn’t help either – find all FIR and case numbers listed there. So anyways, did you know that Mr Yadav

  • is BA and LLB (1976). Who said he is uneducated?
  • ‘s wife lists 50 cows and 31 calves as her assets.
  • had Rs 1,58,77,163 outstanding (includes disputed amount, not sure) as Income Tax for year 2003-2004!

Back to the subject now. I didn’t do the addition job. But if you want to, you can figure who ‘claims’ to be the richer politician, all thanks to RTI and Election Commission! Whether they have declared all their assets or not, I like the fact that its all up there for us to see.

By the way, you can look up almost all politicians there, sample some: Rabri Devi (Raghopur – 2005 State), HD Kumaraswamy (Ramanagaram – 2004 State). Or how about Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli 2004 LS)?

Happy browsing then. Do share all interesting stuff you ‘discover’. Wish someone could add all these numbers up and do a Forbes like list of all our netas. Any volunteers !? ;)

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4 Responses

  1. Pranav: I guess this doesnt include the “frontmen” owned property…

  2. my buddies will vote for amma and the marans :-).

    – s.b.

  3. Great Post silk – good sleuthing!

    Even if we all know that the information they have declared is not true, nevertheless, it is the first time in Indian history that the common man has access to such information.
    RTI is such an awesome bill and I am proud our government made it into law.
    We will all benefit from it in years to come (as soon as the bureacracy catches up)

  4. Yes Anand, it may not include fronted properties Vijay mentions, but the fact that we have access to all of these, and that we can take candidates to courts if we find a significant asset not listed here – these are great steps for our democracy.

    Long live RTI. But some ways to go before we (as in citizens) start making the most of the power information gives us.

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