Age, gender, assets: A profile of newly elected Maharashtra House
The results of the new Maharashtra assembly were declared on October 24. In this piece, we analyse the profile of the newly elected members, pertaining to various aspects of their socio-demographic profiles. We also look at the political trajectories of the newly elected legislators.
The data for the analysis has been sourced from candidate affidavits digitised by the Association for Democratic Reforms and merged with the Trivedi Centre for Political Data’s dataset on political candidates sourced from the Election Commission of India’s statistical reports.
While the profiles of the elected representatives is not very different from those elected in the 2014 assembly elections, we observe slight changes with respect to the age distribution, assets, and criminality.
The primary discernible difference is the increase in the number of MLAs who are above the age of 60: 22% of the MLAs in the new assembly are above 60 as compared to 15% in the previous assembly. There is also a slight decline in the number of young MLAs i.e. those less than 40 years of age: 12% of the MLAs in the new assembly as compared to 16% in the previous assembly.
The average age across parties is comparable across the 2019 and 2014 assemblies for the main parties Indian National Congress (50 in 2014 and 52 in 2019), Bharatiya Janata Party (49 in 2014 and 51 in 2019), Shiv Sena (49 in 2014 and 52 in 2019), and Nationalist Congress Party (50 in 2014 and 51 in 2019).
There is a slight change in the gender distribution between the current and previous assemblies. There were about 7% female MLAs in the 2014 assembly and this share has increased to 8.3%. This increase in percentage translates to a small increase of four women in the current assembly. It is to be noted that among the 24 women elected this election, 14 are first-timers (58%).
This is lower than the number of first-time women MLAs in the previous assembly, when 15 out of the 20, or 75%, elected were first-timers.
There are no large changes in the reported education of the MLAs between the 2014 and the current assembly. There is a slight increase in the number of post-graduates and graduates in the current assembly (10% in 2014 to 12% in 2019; 22% in 2014 to 25% in 2019, respectively). There is a small decrease in the number of MLAs who reported that they were graduate professionals (17% in 2014 to 15% in 2019).
The occupation profile of the MLAs is not very different from 2014. We observe a number of lawyers, doctors and social-workers. However, these numbers are dwarfed by MLAs who declare themselves ‘agriculturists’ or being engaged in some form of business. However, mapping candidates across assembly elections helps us know that a number of the elected MLAs (over 58%) have held office as a legislator before.
Of the 288 winning candidates in the Maharashtra Assembly, 122 are serving their first term, while 25% of them (71) are serving a second term as an elected MLA in Maharashtra. In total, more than 58% of the MLAs have held the position of an MLA before, which is a slight increase from the 53% of MLAs with previous legislature experience in the 2014 assembly.
In the 2019 Vidhan Sabha, 104 MLAs (36.1%) had declared net assets exceeding Rs 10 crore in their affidavits. This is a rise from the previous assembly, where only 63 MLAs (21%) had declared net assets worth more than ₹10 crore. At the same time, 148 MLAs (51.9%) declared assets between Rs 1 crore and 10 crore.
BJP candidate from Ghatkopar East, Parag Shah is the wealthiest MLA with net assets worth more than ₹500 crore. Congress candidates from Purandar, Sanjay Chandukaka Jagtap follows with net assets worth around Rs 245 crore. Moreover, the median assets for MLAs have increased across the board for all parties.
Of the 288 MLAs, 173 declared at least one criminal charge, as compared to 161 MLAs with criminal charges elected to the 2014 assembly. The number of BJP MLAs with criminal cases has slid from 73 in 2014 to 65 in 2019. Similarly for Shiv Sena, the number has gone down from 47 to 31. For both the Congress and NCP, the number of MLAs with criminal cases has risen. There are 26 MLAs with criminal cases from Congress in 2019, against 15 in 2014. NCP sent 32 MLAs with criminal cases to the Vidhan Sabha in 2019 as against 18 in 2014. The largest number of criminal cases — 32 — has been declared by Bachchu Babarao Kadu who won from Achalpur constituency on a Prahar Janshakti Party ticket. He is followed by BJP winner, Babanrao Bhikaji Pachpute from Shrigonda constituency with 27 cases. The NCP winner with most number of criminal cases is Awhad Jitendra Satish from Kalwa constituency with 25 criminal cases. The Congress winner with most number of declared criminal cases is Vikas Pandurang Thakre from Nagpur West (25).