“Money changes everything.” And nowhere is that proverb more taken to heart than in Indian elections where crores of rupees are spent by candidates whether or not he/ she will win. In the Festival of Democracy, ironically it is the candidate who spends the most money or is richer than other competing candidates who usually wins. Though there are examples of Victory Goddess smiling on candidates having little wealth, their percentage is less.
Overall, campaigning all through the Constituency, reaching remotest corners with ground-level supporters ends up being the major expense. In 2014 election, the average campaign expense of each candidate ate up almost 43 percent of the total money spent. In the increasingly high stakes world of election campaigning, aggressive displays of candidate’s wealth, from cash handouts to food, freebies and alcohol distribution, to big rallies, are becoming more common and more extravagant.
Looking at self-reported candidate affidavits for Lok Sabha (LS) elections between 2004 and 2014, the total wealth of candidates grew by approximately 330%. Even after adjusting for inflation, the wealth of candidates saw a rise of 116% in real terms. The wealth of our backyard candidates contesting the forthcoming 2019 LS elections (polling for which will be held on Apr. 18 – Karnataka first phase) as submitted by them while filing their nomination papers before the Election Commission is featured in this Weekend Star Supplement.
PRATAP SIMHA: BJP (Mysuru-Kodagu)
A columnist to Parliamentarian seeks re-election
The wealth of BJP candidate and sitting MP Pratap Simha, who is seeking a re-election, remains modest in comparison to candidates entering the poll fray in most other constituencies.
Pratap Simha has Rs. 28,000 cash on hand while his wife Arpitha Simha has Rs. 25,000, Rs. 2,31,625 in two bank accounts, 500 shares in Karnataka Journalists Society and 1,200 shares in Sir M.V. Cooperative Society, Bengaluru and 1,000 shares in Mataji Multi-purpose Cooperative Society.
He has a life insurance policy of Rs. 5 lakh, a house that has been rented out at Somwarpet in Kodagu District. He has a house (1,500 sq.ft) at Hosakerehalli in Bengaluru worth Rs. 52 lakh. Arpitha Simha owns a house (2,400 sq.ft) at Vijayanagar Fourth Stage in Mysuru worth Rs. 81.50 lakh.
Simha owns one Hyundai Car worth Rs. 8,25,540 and wife owns an Innova Crysta car worth Rs. 24,66,995. Arpitha Simha has 500 grams gold ornaments. Pratap Simha has movable assets worth Rs. 11,09,697 and Arpitha Simha has movable assets 40,32,435 and insurance policy worth Rs. 1,22,623 in daughter Vipanchi’s name. The sitting MP has borrowed loans worth Rs. 23,64,087 and wife Arpitha Simha has borrowed Rs. 23,74,917. Pratap Simha is a post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communication, Mangalore University.
Forty-three-year-old Pratap Simha is ambitious and his political career is on a high ever since he won the last general elections.
Simha however, puts family first. On his official Twitter handle, he describes himself as “Journalist (Till 2014) | Appa (Father) | Husband | BJP worker | Member of Parliament”. He makes sure he is there for his daughter and wife Arpitha Simha whenever they need him.
His column Bettale Jagattu (The Naked World) in a Kannada daily was fiercely in support of Hindutva. He wrote a book in 2008 titled “Narendra Modi: Yaaru Thuliyada Haadi” (Narendra Modi: The Untrodden Road). In 2014, expressed his desire to contest from the Udupi Chikkamagalur constituency on a BJP ticket and though the party accepted his candidature, Simha was asked to contest from Mysuru-Kodagu.
Simha readily accepted, and resigned as a journalist and fought the election defeating A.H. Vishwanath of Congress by 32,000 votes — a huge achievement for a first-time politician. Pratap himself summed up: “In 33 days, I had gone from columnist to Parliamentarian.” Simha is seeking a re-election now on a development plank. Simha’s name figures in the voter’s list of Chamundeshwari Assembly segment.
C.H. VIJAYASHANKAR: CONGRESS – JD-S (Mysuru-Kodagu)
Cop-turned-Politician scouts to net Victory Goddess
Sixty-two-year-old C.H. Vijayashankar is a seasoned politician and has witnessed many electoral battles both from the BJP and Congress. A two-time Parliamentarian, he has held Ministerial berths in Karnataka and has a wide administrative experience. His assets too are modest when compared with other candidates.
Vijayashankar owns a house in Vijayanagar in Mysuru, valued at around Rs. 2 crore and 1.34 acres of land in Gummanahalli in Byadagi, estimated to be valued at Rs. 10 lakh. His immovable assets is worth Rs. 2.15 crore and movable assets is worth Rs. 2.30 crore. He has a 40×60 sq.ft site in HSR Layout in Bengaluru and its market value cannot be estimated because of a dispute pending in High Court. Vijayashankar has deposits and gold worth Rs. 34,12,974 lakh in his name, Rs. 1,96,81,515 in the name of his wife Babitha, and Rs. 7,70,301 lakh in his son Chethan Kumar’s name. There is no property in daughter Kanaka’s name. The former MP has borrowed Rs. 35 lakh as loan.
Vijayashankar has Rs. 2 lakh cash in hand and wife has Rs. 15,000 cash. He owns a 2013 model two-wheeler registered in his name is valued at Rs. 25,000 and a 2009 model four-wheeler registered in his wife’s name is valued at Rs. 1.5 lakh. Another two-wheeler registered in his son’s name is estimated to cost Rs. 10,000. Vijayashankar has studied BA from Karnatak University, Dharwad. Vijayashankar will cast his vote at Chamundeshwari segment.
C.H. Vijayashankar was in the Police Department 30 years ago. Basically from Haveri District, he was posted as Police Sub-Inspector, Hunsur Circle. In the department, he developed local contacts and resigned from his job and plunged into electoral politics and tasted success. Police sources, however, say that if Vijayashankar had remained in the Police Department, he would have by now reached the level of Superintendent of Police.
Vijayashankar has good knowledge about the Police Department and also has the know-how of how politics works. An example of this was publicly demonstrated in August last year during the elections of Mysuru City Corporation when the former MP took on a Police Sub-Inspector for speaking disrespectfully to a Congress candidate.
The Sub-Inspector spotted the contesting candidate speaking to a group of people after the campaign schedule for the polls ended. The cop, while being seated in a car, signalled the candidate to come near him. Seeing this, Vijayashankar took objection to the cop’s behaviour and asked him to mend his ways and treat politicians and public with respect. Seeing the angry former MP, the cop quickly got down from the car and later, election officers cleared the air.
NIKHIL KUMARASWAMY: JD(S)-CONGRESS (Mandya)
Next-gen rookie looks
to rule Mandya hotbed
There is as local saying that India is in Mandya which literally means Mandya is as significant as India or rather equal when it comes to complexity of politics and social patterns. Whatever happens in Mandya will be reflected in India. True to this expression, this time, the focus of elections is Mandya where CM Kumaraswamy’s actor-son is making a debut. Like the constituency that is already witnessing a high-pitched and high-voltage campaign, the assets of candidates too are the talk of the town.
Thirty-one-year-old Nikhil Kumaraswamy has declared movable assets of Rs. 17,53,87,761 and immovable assets worth Rs. 22,53,05,688, including two houses and a commercial property in the heart of Bengaluru. He has inherited a passion for cars from his father and owns a Range Rover worth Rs. 3.11 crore and a vanity van worth Rs. 23.93 lakh.
Nikhil has taken a loan of Rs. 13.93 crore from his mother, Anitha Kumaraswamy, who is the MLA for Ramanagaram, and Rs. 9.18 lakh from his father. He has also given Rs. 1.10 crore to his father and Rs. 1.75 crore to Kasturi Media, which is owned by his mother. Nikhil has made investment of Rs. 17.53 crore and has a fixed deposit of 1.06 crore in various banks and has declared an income of Rs. 71.47 lakh. Nikhil has mentioned in his affidavit that he has studied BBA from Periyar University of Distance Education, Salem. Nikhil has his name registered in the voters’ list of Magadi in Bengaluru.
Even before his name was announced for Mandya Lok Sabha seat, Nikhil has remained active in meeting people of his Mandya. The fact that he is from film industry and him being the son of Kumaraswamy, who is popular in the region, are helping his rallies draw crowd.
“I do not have experience in politics. My grandfather Deve Gowda was the Prime Minister and my father Kumaraswamy has become CM of Karnataka twice. You (party workers) have brought up my father from this region. He is responding to all your troubles. I am only asking for a chance. If given, I will be in your service until my last breath,” Nikhil has been telling voters.
He has even declared that if there is an opportunity, he will marry a girl from Mandya and permanently settle there. It remains to be seen how the charisma of this Jaguar will work in Mandya’s India and if there will be another Seetharama Kalyana.
H.D. Deve Gowda reports 63% decline in personal wealth
Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, a six-time MP who is contesting for the first time from Tumakuru constituency, has declared a personal wealth of just Rs. 27.7 lakh, while his wife Chennamma has assets worth Rs. 4.23 crore in her name.
Eighty-six-year-old Deve Gowda has reported a 63% decline in personal wealth since the 2014 elections, when he contested (and won) from Hassan. He has shown a regular income of Rs. 6.38 lakh and has no liabilities. Interestingly, the liabilities of his wife include a loan of Rs. 67 lakh to Deve Gowda and another of Rs. 1 lakh to Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. Deve Gowda will cast his vote at Holenarasipura.
SUMALATHA AMBARISH: INDEPENDENT (Mandya)
Will she upset coalition calculation?
While loads of text have been written about actor-politician Ambarish aka ‘Mandyada Gandu’ and his wife, also a veteran actress, Sumalatha, their unflinching love and companionship towards each other, the floodlights are now of course on Sumalatha who is taking on the mighty JD(S) represented by Nikhil Kumaraswamy. They were Sandalwood’s most-loved couple and everyone looked up to the duo in times of need. Till Ambarish’s death, Sumalatha had maintained a low profile. Contrast this with her full-blown political battle now. She has become ‘Mandyada Sose’ and in her own words, she is fighting for her pride.
Sumalatha has declared assets worth Rs. 23.41 crore. She has a loan of Rs. 1.42 crore and has Rs. 12.70 lakh cash in her hand and possesses 5.5 kgs of gold worth Rs. 1.66 crore and 31 kg silver worth Rs. 12.57 lakh.
She has a fixed deposit of Rs. 1.31 crore and movable properties worth Rs. 5,68,62,989, a house in J.P. Nagar, Uttarahalli and apartment which she owns on a partnership basis. Her immovable assets amounts to Rs. 17,72,91,150. All the properties are inherited by her husband and Sumalatha does not even own a car. She has invested in various properties worth Rs. 1.97 crore and commercial properties worth Rs. 41 lakh.
Fifty-five-year-old Sumalatha is a resident of Bengaluru and has her name in the voters list of Doddarasinakere in Maddur. She has studied SSLC at a convent school in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. Sumalatha’s son is Abhishek who is into films.
In 1989, Ambarish proposed in a unique manner to Sumalatha and wrote a letter to her which read, “Rebel in Trouble”, as the proposal intention had gone quite hasty. The combination of a dignified female (Sumalatha) and a rebellious and a dynamic male (Ambarish) was quite a pair in the making and hence proved that the opposite poles attract each other.
During her election campaigns, she is banking on public sentiment and has been telling people that she will continue the good work done by Ambarish. She is quite confident of winning despite the fact that JD(S) considering Mandya as safe seat. “I am putting up a brave fight and I know it is their safe seat but even the Roman Empire was reduced to dust at some point. Nobody should take anything for granted,” she says. Will her brave fight be endorsed by voters? Only time will tell.
PRAJWAL REVANNA: JD(S)-CONGRESS (Hassan)
Who will claim family legacy in the battle of cousins?
Prajwal Revanna fighting from Hassan and Nikhil Kumaraswamy contesting from Mandya will be a curious battle of cousins to claim and continue the Haradanahalli Doddegowda Deve Gowda legacy. Son of PWD Minister H.D. Revanna, who is a firm believer in astrology even to get out of his house or office, Prajwal has nurtured political ambitions since a long time.
Twenty-eight-year-old Prajwal Revanna owns properties worth over Rs. 10.11 crore. Interestingly, his assets include 18 cows and two bullocks. He does not own a car and the vehicle registered in his name is a tractor.
Prajwal Revanna, who is identified as a partner in Channambika Convention Hall, has movable assets worth Rs. 1.64 crore. The assets include cash of Rs. 15.58 lakh, investments of Rs. 91.1 lakh and loans paid to grandmother Chennamma (Rs. 23 lakh) and brother Suraj (Rs. 37.2 lakh).
He owns agricultural land at Bavikere in Nelamangala taluk, Paduvalahippe and Maragondanahalli in Holenarasipura taluk and at Gowripura in Hassan taluk. There is no house in his name. His liabilities — Rs. 3.72 crore — include personal loans taken from family members, including his father Revanna (Rs. 1.26 crore) and mother Bhavani Revanna (Rs. 43.75 lakh).
Family as an institution may be undergoing a dramatic metamorphosis across the world, but in Indian politics, especially in the Hassan and Mandya belt, family remains firmly grounded as it has ever been. This is precisely why Prajwal has not moved to any other Constituency but has been supporting his father Revanna months before the last Assembly polls were declared.
Though some of his outbursts against the party leadership had grabbed the headlines, Prajwal was waiting for an opportune time to enter the electoral fray and that opportune time came when his grandfather declared him as a candidate for Hassan recently. Congress strongman D.K. Shivakumar, who is also a Vokkaliga, played a key role in convincing top leaders in the Congress to not field any candidates and ensure Prajwal Revanna’s win with a thumping majority. Prajwal will cast his vote at Holenarasipura.
A. MANJU: BJP (Hassan)
In BJP fold now, Manju set to face an acid test
Hassan Lok Sabha constituency, a JD(S) bastion, is all set to witness a stiff, straight fight between the regional outfit and the BJP. After Deve Gowda relinquished the seat to his grandson Prajwal Revanna, BJP got a shot in the arm with the ‘homecoming’ of A. Manju alias ‘Vaale Manju’ who came back to BJP from Congress.
Manju has declared a personal wealth of Rs. 12.49 crore. His wife Tara Manju Gowda has movable and immovable properties worth Rs. 2.20 crore against their name. The lawyer by profession, however, has also declared a taxable income of Rs. 12.04 crore. He has a cash of Rs. 15 lakh in hand and his wife has Rs. 10 lakh. The value of fixed deposits, gold, vehicles of the couple adds up to Rs. 4.5 crore. His immovable property is worth Rs. 9.17 crore and has a liabilities of Rs. 2.53 crore.
Manju has studied BA and LLB at SJRC College in Bengaluru. He has his name in the voters’ list at Arakalagodu.
Sixty-year-old Manju is called ‘Vaale’ Manju as he always wears gold studs. He will fight against Prajwal Revanna and ever since Congress and JD(S) had formed an alliance, Manju has been very vocal against the set-up. When the Lok Sabha elections were declared, he switched to BJP, his old party and even BJP grabbed him with open arms as the party had to gain a foothold in Hassan, long considered as JD(S) family fort. Interestingly, Manju did a Narendra Modi recently by washing the feet of Pourakarmikas.
Manju is known for his vitriolic attacks on Deve Gowda family and their family politics. This time, Hassan too will witness a high-pitched battle and as an indication to this, Hassan city witnessed more than 25,000 people rallying behind Manju when he filed his nomination papers – a thing unheard for BJP in Hassan and which sounded music to its ears. It remains to be seen if the crowd translates into votes.
V. SREENIVASA PRASAD: BJP (Chamarajanagar)
Dalit leader banks on his strong roots, Modi wave
An old-timer to Parliament, senior BJP leader V. Sreenivasa Prasad will contest from Chamarajanagar (SC) seat and it will be his 14th election while his opponent R. Dhruvanarayan of the Congress, who is the sitting MP, will be contesting for the sixth time.
Out of the 13 polls he has contested so far, Sreenivasa Prasad has won seven times and lost six times while Dhruvanarayan has won four times and lost only once. Prasad is riding on Narendra Modi wave and has bowed to pressure from BJP workers who compelled him to contest.
Seventy-one-year-old Sreenivasa Prasad has declared assets worth Rs. 14.17 crore. His movable asset is worth Rs. 77.62 lakh and his immovable property is worth Rs. 13.39 crore. He has Rs. 8,54,777 cash on hand and has fixed deposits at various banks amounting to Rs. 18,41,930. His wife Bhagyalakshmi has a cash of 1.42 lakh.
He has a life insurance policy of Rs. 20 lakh and owns an Innova Crysta worth Rs. 25 lakh and possesses furniture worth Rs. 10.52 lakh. His wife Bhagyalakshmi has cash of Rs. 1.42 lakh, gold ornaments worth Rs. 5.25 lakh and 4 kg of bullion and fixed deposits worth Rs. 24.50 lakh.
Sreenivasa Prasad owns a house at Dollar’s Colony in Bengaluru worth Rs. 6.98 crore, a house at Jayalakshmipuram in Mysuru worth Rs. 3.4 crore, and a gas agency land at Mysuru Industrial suburbs. In all, his immovable property is worth Rs. 13.39 crore and has a vehicle loan of Rs. 3,24,909. Sreenivasa Prasad has his name in the voters’ list of Chamaraja Assembly segment. He has three daughters.
A bitter critic of former Chief Minister Siddharamaiah, Prasad quit the Congress after he was dropped from the Cabinet in 2016 and announced his retirement from electoral politics following his defeat in the April 2017 Nanjangud by-polls that ensued after he quit his Assembly seat.
However, the Dalit strongman settled scores with Siddharamaiah by ensuring his son-in-law Harshavardhan’s victory in Nanjangud (SC) seat in the last Assembly election in May 2018. He put all his force behind Harshavardhan ensured his victory against Kalale Keshavamurthy. In fact, Kalale Keshavamurthy had defeated Prasad in 2017 Nanjangud by-polls and Harshavardhan’s victory was a sweet revenge for Prasad.
Sreenivasa Prasad continues to blame Siddharamaiah for the sorry state of affairs in the State and in the Congress. “For the first time, Congress has joined hands with other small-time parties to defeat the BJP. There is a Modi wave in the country and the BJP will be re-elected and nothing will stop him from steering the country as Prime Minister,” he says.
R. Dhruvanarayan: CONGRESS-JD(S) (Chamarajanagar)
Aiming for a hat-trick in the
land of Chamarajeshwara
Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha seat (SC) is set for a battleground between senior BJP leader V. Sreenivasa Prasad and sitting Congress MP R. Dhruvanarayan, who were close friends and mutual well-wishers earlier.
Both Sreenivasa Prasad and Dhruvanarayan, though not contemporaries, started their political career with the Congress and worked closely in the party when they were together. But in a changed political scenario, Prasad left the Congress after being dropped from Siddharamaiah Cabinet in 2016 and later joined the BJP. However, Dhruvanarayan continued in the Congress and won twice from Chamarajanagar (SC) on a Congress ticket in 2009 and 2014.
R. Dhruvanarayan has declared assets worth Rs. 9 crore. The sitting Chamarajanagar MP has cash of Rs. 15 lakh in hand, movable properties worth around Rs.4,34,89,777 and immovable properties worth around Rs.4,65,25,000. His wife Veena has cash of Rs. 3 lakh in hand and movable properties worth Rs. 18,08,771. His sons D. Darshan and D. Dhiren have movable properties worth Rs. 2,61,590 and Rs. 3,33,116 respectively.
The MP’s liabilities include a loan of Rs. 21,90,481. Dhruvanarayan owns two SUVs while his wife owns a car. She owns jewellery worth Rs. 4,15,500. He owns 19 acres of agricultural land in three villages, a house at Vijayanagar in Mysuru and a site in Bengaluru. Dhruvanarayan will cast his vote at Gundlupet Assembly segment.
Fifty-eight-year old R Dhruvanarayan gets upset when media calls him a political ‘Sishya’ (disciple) of ‘Guru’ Sreenivasa Prasad and if the media projects the election as ‘Guru-Sishya’ fight for supremacy. “People know the way I grew up and the way I have taken up developmental works in the constituency. It was Mallikarjun Kharge who gave me the ticket for the Assembly election from Kollegal for the first time. One can check with him,” he says.
“Yes, I was close to him (Sreenivasa Prasad). But he had done nothing for my development, my political base was in Bengaluru, I was recognised as a student leader when I studied in the Agriculture University in the early 1980s and was made State Youth Congress President by late S. Bangarappa. And even when I shifted to Chamarajanagar in 1994 due to personal reasons, Rajashekar Murthy helped me politically,” he counters. Dhruvanarayan is seeking re-election on development plank. So will the almighty Chamarajeshwara smile on ‘Dhruva’? Wait till the results.