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Nitish, Modi, Mamata poorer than New Delhi CM Kejriwal?

Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 29, 2013
First Published: 00:48 IST(29/12/2013) | Last Updated: 14:56 IST(29/12/2013)

Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is the ultimate aam aadmi (common man).

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But if you go by the records of assets declared by various chief ministers to the election commission across the country, there are other CMs who have claimed to be more “aam” than Kejriwal.

And the list of such aam chief ministers is not only limited to West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee and Tripura’s Manik Sarkar, who are known for their austere lifestyles even after spending a lifetime in politics. Politicians known for their love of “good things” in life — designer clothes, branded accessories and a jet-setting lifestyle — too are poorer than Kejriwal.

A comparison of assets declared by 30 chief ministers in their election affidavits by the Association for Democratic Reforms, indicates that the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, Bihar’s Nitish Kumar and Manipur’s Okram Ibobi Singh are way poorer than Kejriwal, the mascot of the common man.

Kejriwal has declared movable assets worth Rs. 18 lakh and immovable property worth Rs. 1.92 crore. This includes a Rs. 1 crore Gurgaon flat that his wife had purchased in July 2010 — before Kejriwal launched the Lokpal agitation — with a Rs. 41 lakh loan that she is repaying.

The Delhi chief minister is the fourth poorest CM if one were to take into account only movable assets. Only Ibobi Singh (Rs 5 lakh), Mamata Banerjee (Rs 15 lakh) and Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik (Rs 16 lakh) have declared fewer liquid assets.

But the Kejriwal family moves ahead of the pack if you compare them with the declared immovable assets of chief ministers.

Lo and behold! It turns out that Kejriwal has more property than even erstwhile royalty, Rajasthan’s second-time chief minister Vasundhra Raje, who has declared just Rs. 38 lakh worth of immovable property and Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda who declared six properties in three states — Delhi, Haryana and Uttarakhand — but valued them at no more than Rs. 1.8 crore. And yes, Hooda doesn’t own an inch of land in Gurgaon.

Jagdeep Chokkar, who co-founded Association for Democratic Reforms said a strict comparison might not be accurate, since everyone did not provide the market value of their assets. “Some declare the value of the assets when acquired, some declare some other figure despite clear instructions from the Supreme Court and Election Commission in this regard,” he said.

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