by Subir Bhaumik (from Calcutta, India)

India’s leading election watchdog The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the National Election Watch have finally analysed the affidavits of 71 out of 72 ministers, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the findings are startling.

These ministers contested India’s seven-phase general election in 2024, which returned the BJP-led NDA alliance to power, albeit with a reduced margin.  Analysts said the verdict was in favour of continuity and stability but ruled out the possibility of the BJP pursuing a radical Hindutva agenda that could make religious minorities feel vulnerable.

Criminal background
Of the 71 ministers analysed, 28 (39%) have criminal cases against them. 19 (27%) ministers are facing serious criminal cases including cases related to attempts to murder, kidnapping, crimes against women, etc.

2 Ministers have declared cases related to attempt to murder (IPC Section 307) against themselves. Two ministers from West Bengal – Shantanu Thakur and Sukanta Majumder – where the BJP performed poorly, have dozens of criminal cases against them.

5 ministers have reported cases of crimes against women – Bandi Sanjay Kumar from Telangana, Shantanu Thakur and Sukanta Majumder from West Bengal, Suresh Gopi from Kerala and Jual Oram from Odisha.

8 Ministers have reported cases of hate speech – Bandi Sanjay Kumar, Shantanu Thakur and Sukanta Majumdar from West Bengal,

Karnataka’s Shobha Karandlaje, Odisha’s former petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Bihar’s Giriraj Singh and Nityanand Rai, and Home Minister Amit Shah.

Financial background
Of the 71 ministers analysed, 70 (99%) are crorepatis (owning over one billion rupees in assets).

The average wealth of the 71 ministers analysed is Rs 107.94 crore ( 10.74 billion).

Ministers with high assets: 6 ministers have declared assets worth more than Rs 100 crores. These ministers are Dr Chandra Sekhar Pemmasani of Andhra Pradesh, royal scion Jyotiraditya M. Scindia of Madhya Pradesh, H.D. Kumaraswamy of Karnataka, Ashwini Vaishnaw of Odisha, Rao Inderjit Singh of Haryana and Haryana and Piyush Goyal from

Maharashtra. 55 ministers have declared their liabilities.

In large parts of India still under the control of feudal lords, violence is used as a means of control and unleashed to influence election results. But the real significance of this report is that all but one of the ministers are billionaires in what is still a poor country. The skyrocketing cost of contesting elections makes it impossible for poor or even middle-class politicians to stand, and parties favour rich candidates who can not only pay for their campaigns but also donate to party coffers.

On the cover photo, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi ©Salma Bashir/