After becoming Uttar Pradesh’s youngest chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, 38, is set to notch up a first online. He will soon become the first CM of UP to declare his assets and liabilities on the state government website, said a source privy to the development.
His move is likely to mount pressure on ministers and legislators to follow suit and may also help blunt criticism over the presence of some tainted leaders in his ministerial team.
The SP leader’s father and party chief Mulayam Yadav has already warned the ministers to be above board or face action.
Under provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Ministers and Legislators (Publication of Assets and Liabilities) Act 1975, ministers and legislators are required to declare their assets and liabilities within three months of assuming office or being elected to the state legislature.
They are also expected to declare assets acquired during the preceding financial year by June 30 every year.
Effectively, the CM — who is a Lok Sabha MP from Kannauj — is under no obligation to declare his assets till he becomes a member of either the Vidhan Sabha or the Vidhan Parishad.
For decades, CMs, ministers and legislators in UP have not declared their assets and liabilities on the government forum. They have managed to sidestep transparency because the rulebook does not stipulate any penalty for defaulters.
The displaced BSP government led by Mayawati had many defaulters. According to a Vidhan Sabha secretariat gazette notification of July 2011, 45 ministers of the Mayawati government had not declared their assets and liabilities. What’s more, 354 MLAs — from different parties — had figured in the defaulters’ list.
In contrast, PM Manmohan Singh and most of his ministers had declared their assets and liabilities by September 2011.