Experts feel voters may also be more attracted to wealthy candidates because they are seen as being better able to grease the wheels of local bureaucracies.(HT File)
Experts feel voters may also be more attracted to wealthy candidates because they are seen as being better able to grease the wheels of local bureaucracies.(HT File)

Assembly elections: Richer, educated candidates fared well in the 5 states

Across 689 constituencies in the assembly elections in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, the wealthiest candidate won 33.5% of the time, compared to just 24.6% for the second wealthiest candidate and 17% for the third wealthiest.
By Harry Stevens | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 15, 2017 01:13 AM IST

Wealthier candidates were far more likely to win their constituency than their less wealthy competitors, according to an analysis of election data and candidate affidavits by the Hindustan Times.

Across 689 constituencies in the assembly elections in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, the wealthiest candidate won 33.5% of the time, compared to just 24.6% for the second wealthiest candidate and 17% for the third wealthiest.

The odds were heavily stacked against poorer candidates. Of the 639 fifth-wealthiest candidates, just 41 — 6.4% — won their constituencies. Only four of 394 tenth-wealthiest candidates won, or just a little more than 1%.

Education, too, contributed to candidates’ chances of winning. Candidates with a doctorate degree, for example, won nearly a fifth of their races, while the poorly educated fared much worse. Of the 102 candidates whose affidavits said they were illiterate, just two – Satya Prakash Agrawal from UP and Yamthong Haokip from Saikul in Manipur – came out on top.

Yet the road to electoral victory is paved with cash, not diplomas.

“To run a decent campaign, you need a lot of money,” said Niranjan Sahoo, a senior fellow with the Observer Research Foundation’s Governance and Politics Initiative. Most of the time, “the main criterion for getting selected to be a candidate is your ability to raise money or whether you already have the money bags with you.”

Voters may also be more attracted to wealthy candidates because they are seen as being better able to grease the wheels of local bureaucracies.

“The job description of an elected representative is not to sit in the assembly,” said Gilles Verniers, a political scientist at Ashoka University, but instead to act as a power broker between constituents and state agencies. “Being wealthy enables to you to meet, to a certain extent, the expectations of voters.”

To be sure, some poorer candidates were able to beat the odds. Of the 689 winning candidates HT analysed, four were in debt, according to their affidavits, while another winning candidate declared no assets at all.

Even for wealthy candidates, victory is not guaranteed. Of the 2,185 candidates who claimed to possess net assets of at least Rs 1 crore, 514 -- a little less than a quarter -- won their seats. Nazir Ahamad, a Congress candidate from Uttar Pradesh whose net assets amounted to more than Rs 200 crore, finished third in the Agra South constituency.

Still, a poorer candidate faces far longer odds. Of the 608 candidates who declared net assets of between Rs 0 and Rs 1 lakh, only one — Dr Harendra Prasad Singh, who declared net assets of Rs 0 — emerged victorious.

“The implication is very straightforward,” Sahoo said of the difficulties relatively poor candidates face at the polls. “A lot of competent people who are motivated to get into the democratic process and bring systemic change, people who want to work for their community, simply don’t get a chance.”

The gap between the electoral fortunes of rich and poor was starkest in Manipur, where nearly half of all seats were won by the wealthiest contesting candidate, and only about 5% of seats were won by candidates who ranked fifth-wealthiest or below.

UP was the only state in which the wealthiest candidate won less than a third of the time. Still, poorer candidates fared much worse than richer ones. Candidates facing four or more wealthier competitors were able to win just 15% of the time.

If Indian poor people have a hard time getting elected, the same is true of the poor everywhere, said Verniers.

“Money plays a central role in electoral politics in practically every democracy. Even Luxembourg, I’m sure,” Verniers, who is from Belgium, said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarmah with chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal in this file picture seen presenting State Budget in the Assembly, in Guwahati. (PTI)
Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarmah with chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal in this file picture seen presenting State Budget in the Assembly, in Guwahati. (PTI)

In Assam assembly polls, CM Sonowal to contest from Majuli

By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 07:06 PM IST
  • In Assam assembly polls, CM Sarbananda Sonowal to contest from Majuli, Himanta Biswa Sarma seeks re-election from Jalukbari
Close
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. (PTI)
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. (PTI)

Will campaign for party if invited, says Ghulam Nabi Azad ahead of elections

UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 06:44 PM IST
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Friday that a victory for the grand old party in the upcoming state elections was a priority and that he would campaign wherever he would be invited. "The victory of Congress party in the forthcoming state elections is a priority.
Close
Assembly elections in the state will be held in eight phases between March 27 and April 29.
Assembly elections in the state will be held in eight phases between March 27 and April 29.

Left-Cong-ISF alliance in Bengal announces seats to contest in first 2 phases

PTI, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 06:25 PM IST
The Congress and the ISF will come out with the names of their contestants later, their leaders said.
Close
State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said Congress always makes promises but fails to keep them. (ANI Photo)
State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said Congress always makes promises but fails to keep them. (ANI Photo)

Tea garden workers will look 5,000 financial aid not poll stunts: Assam BJP

ANI, Guwahati
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 05:59 PM IST
Dass played down Gandhi by comparing her visit with the benefits women workers are receiving from the BJP-ruled state and central governments.
Close
Chief Minister of West Bengal state and Trinamool Congress party leader Mamata Banerjee gestures as she arrives to announce the names of the party's candidates for the upcoming legislative assembly elections in Kolkata, India, Friday, March 5, 2021. The eight phased legislative assembly elections in the state are scheduled to begin on March 27. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)(AP)
Chief Minister of West Bengal state and Trinamool Congress party leader Mamata Banerjee gestures as she arrives to announce the names of the party's candidates for the upcoming legislative assembly elections in Kolkata, India, Friday, March 5, 2021. The eight phased legislative assembly elections in the state are scheduled to begin on March 27. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)(AP)

After Mamata finalises Nandigram contest, BJP reacts

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kanishka Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 05:59 PM IST
Trinamool Congress chief Banerjee claimed this is going to be a “soft election.” “This is a soft election, a smiley election. We will play, we will fight, we will win,” she said.
Close
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (File photo)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (File photo)

Bengal polls: JMM, NCP have declared support for Trinamool, says Mamata

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Nilavro Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 05:18 PM IST
The JMM is Jharkhand's ruling party and the NCP is part of Maharashtra's ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance along with the Shiv Sena, who have also declared their support for Banerjee. Both had defeated the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in their respective states to win power.
Close
Ramesh Chennithala denied allegations that the Congress party has weakened in Kerala. In picture - Chennithala (extreme left) arrives for a meeting with the party leaders.(PTI)
Ramesh Chennithala denied allegations that the Congress party has weakened in Kerala. In picture - Chennithala (extreme left) arrives for a meeting with the party leaders.(PTI)

Kerala Assembly Poll 2021: Congress says UDF seat-sharing talks on ‘last lap’

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Srivatsan K C, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 05:12 PM IST
“Seat sharing talks are progressing. We are on the last lap. We will finalise the list by today or tomorrow," Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said.
Close
Chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee holds the list of electoral candidates outside the Trinamool Congress party office ahead of the state legislative assembly elections in Kolkata on March 5, 2021. (AFP)
Chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee holds the list of electoral candidates outside the Trinamool Congress party office ahead of the state legislative assembly elections in Kolkata on March 5, 2021. (AFP)

Bengal polls: TMC releases candidate list, Mamata to contest from Nandigram

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Zara Khan
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 04:18 PM IST
The chief minister announced the names of 291 candidates for the 294 assembly seats, leaving three seats in the hilly regions of north Bengal for her “friends”
Close
**EDS: IMAGE MADE AVAILABLE FROM CM OFFICE** Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a press conference at Kalighat, in Kolkata, Friday, Feb 26, 2021. (PTI Photo) (PTI02_26_2021_000201A)(PTI)
**EDS: IMAGE MADE AVAILABLE FROM CM OFFICE** Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a press conference at Kalighat, in Kolkata, Friday, Feb 26, 2021. (PTI Photo) (PTI02_26_2021_000201A)(PTI)

Mamata Banerjee’s TMC releases candidates’ list for Bengal polls. Details here

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kanishka Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 03:40 PM IST
Mamata Banerjee’s TMC faces a fierce battle from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) this time which has vowed to get a majority of over 200 seats in West Bengal.
Close
“Both the home minister and the Prime Minister will be visiting Assam multiple times for campaigning. It's a very important and largest state in the Northeast." said Jay Panda(PTI)
“Both the home minister and the Prime Minister will be visiting Assam multiple times for campaigning. It's a very important and largest state in the Northeast." said Jay Panda(PTI)

BJP leader shares party's strategy for Assam polls, slams Congress-AIUDF tie-up

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Ayshee Bhaduri, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 03:43 PM IST
  • Talking about the BJP's strategy for the Assam election, Jay Panda said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah have planned multiple campaign visits in the poll-bound state.
Close
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a public meeting, at Sahaganj in Hooghly district. (PTI)
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a public meeting, at Sahaganj in Hooghly district. (PTI)

Spotlight on Nandigram again as Mamata to fight Bengal polls from assembly seat

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Shankhyaneel Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 05:01 PM IST
  • TMC releases first list of 291 candidates for West Bengal assembly polls, CM Mamata Banerjee to contest from Nandigram
Close
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami during the 74th Independence Day celebrations, in Chennai, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (PTI Photo/R Senthil Kumar
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami during the 74th Independence Day celebrations, in Chennai, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (PTI Photo/R Senthil Kumar

AIADMK releases 1st list of candidates for Tamil Nadu assembly polls

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kanishka Sarkar
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 02:59 PM IST
The elections across 38 districts of the southern state will be conducted in a single phase on April 2 and the results will be announced on May 2.
Close
Union minister Amit Shah being felicitated with a huge traditional Assamese Japi (hat) by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, and others during BJP's public rally, at Kendukuchi in Nalbari district earlier this year. (File photo)
Union minister Amit Shah being felicitated with a huge traditional Assamese Japi (hat) by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, and others during BJP's public rally, at Kendukuchi in Nalbari district earlier this year. (File photo)

Assam assembly elections: BJP likely to contest 92 seats, AGP 26

UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 02:20 PM IST
Details of the seat-sharing deal were expected to be announced in Delhi later on Friday. United Peoples Party Liberal and Gana Suraksha Party are likely to get seven and one seats as part of the deal
Close
A Chandigarh lawyer suspected to be receiving substantial amounts in cash from his clients to settle their disputes has been raided by the Income Tax Department.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
A Chandigarh lawyer suspected to be receiving substantial amounts in cash from his clients to settle their disputes has been raided by the Income Tax Department.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

I-T Dept detects unaccounted income of 175 crore during Tamil Nadu raids

By Divya Chandrababu, Hindustan Times, Chennai
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 11:31 AM IST
  • Income tax officials have also seized 3 crore cash during raids on two groups of civil contractors in Tamil Nadu
Close
V.K. Sasikala (L), who in 2017 was expelled from her leadership position in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party and recently released from prison after serving a four-year sentence for corruption, pays homage at the statue of AIADMK party founder M.G. Ramachandran in Chennai on February 9, 2021.(AFP)
V.K. Sasikala (L), who in 2017 was expelled from her leadership position in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party and recently released from prison after serving a four-year sentence for corruption, pays homage at the statue of AIADMK party founder M.G. Ramachandran in Chennai on February 9, 2021.(AFP)

Experts decode Tamil Nadu assembly election link to VK Sasikala's surprise move

By Divya Chandrababu, Hindustan Times, Chennai
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 01:55 PM IST
  • In 2017, when VK Sasikala had briefly held the reigns of the party and O Panneerselvam revolted against her, he had the backing of the RSS-BJP combine
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP