Declaring one’s assets is more than a bit like baring one’s soul. So one goes that much deeper into the psyche of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav when we read his affidavit that lists his assets. What strikes us first is his possession of a Eliminator motorcycle worth Rs 50,589. How many Samajwadis do we know of these days who possess a humble two-wheeler — nothing too flashy? Yes, he has deposits in his name worth Rs 3,551,926.65. But this decent sum is distributed among eight branches of different banks making each account have a paltry Rs 443,990. The value of jewellery in his wife Sadhna’s name is an impressive Rs 7,716,040. But then, who doesn’t need the glitter for traditional occasions in our traditional-minded society?
In the true spirit of being close to the aam admi, Mulayamji possesses no car. When he’s not travelling in his State-sanctioned vehicle, he has the option of using his wife’s Rs 1,716,717 Toyota. For any reason, if she is using it when he requires a vehicle for a personal trip, he can ask a few friends in the vicinity to give him a lift — in a Bentley, perhaps.
Mr Yadav, of course, finds the idea of flaunting one’s wealth rather galling — especially since the CBI is inquiring into something about him and his family having assets disproportionate to his income. But as this snapshot of possessions indicates, the best way for a politician to gain respect from people is to have a lifestyle like the rest of us.