In his first move since being anointed chief minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Yogi Adityanath has instructed all his ministers to furnish details of their income and assets—moveable and immovable—in the next 15 days.
Hopefully, Adityanath, too, will make such particulars publicly available: After all, the monk’s declared assets over the last decade or so make for some interesting reading.
Adityanath first entered the Lok Sabha representing UP’s Gorakhpur in 1998. At 26, he was then the youngest lawmaker in India’s lower house. The constituency in eastern UP sent him back to parliament another four times, most recently in 2014.
Over time, the 44-year-old priest-turned-politician has been able to build a large following across the state, attracted by his message of strident Hindutva, which he has leveraged to become chief minister of India’s most populous and politically significant state.
In his last few terms alone, Adityanath has also been able to increase his assets substantially—from Rs9.6 lakh in 2004 to Rs71 lakh in 2014, according to data from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). Other members of parliament have recorded steeper increases in shorter periods, but this 649% jump in assets over a decade is quite an achievement for someone who cites his profession as “religious missionary” and “social worker.”
|Revolver & rifle|
In 2004, the earliest year from when ADR tracked his declared assets, Adityanath acknowledged having a bank balance of Rs6.62 lakh, a fixed deposit of Rs2 lakh, and a savings bond of Rs50,000. Although his declaration mentioned three cars—a Toyota Qualis, Tata Safari, and a Maruti Esteem—they weren’t prescribed any value. The monk declared he had no jewellery, but possessed a revolver and a rifle, which together were worth about Rs30,000.
Five years later, in 2009, the weapons were worth a lot more: Rs1,80,000. His overall assets, too, rose by 127%, with bigger deposits spread across three banks, nearly Rs6 lakh in savings bonds and postal savings, and two pieces of jewellery worth Rs23,000. Adityanath still had three cars (two Tata Safaris and a Ford Icon) that were apparently worth nothing.
In the next five years, Adityanath’s wealth grew by 229%—without any investments in real estate or the stock market. Members of parliament only receive a monthly salary of Rs50,000, along with a bunch of allowances.
As per his 2014 declaration, Adityanath’s assets grew substantially in every category but weapons. And after many years of worthless existence, his three cars (now a Tata Safari, a Toyota Innova, and a Toyota Fortuner) were valued at Rs36 lakh. The monk also declared a smartphone worth Rs18,000 and a watch worth Rs2,000.
Since then, given the existing trend, Adityanath’s wealth has likely grown—including at least a classy pair of Ray-Ban shades.