The election watch body – Association for Democratic Reform (ADR) – has said in its recent report that more than 70 percent newly sworn-in ministers of Bihar have declared criminal cases against themselves. According to ADR’s report, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav also face criminal charges.
The first cabinet expansion, after Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) ended its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), took place on Tuesday, when a total of 31 MLAs administered their oaths in the presence of Governor Phagu Chauhan. Due to the highest number of seats in the ‘Mahagathbandhan’, the Lalu Prasad Yadav-formed RJD’s dominance was also seen in the Nitish-led cabinet. 16 RJD MLAs took oath as ministers, while 11 from JD(U), 2 from Congress, and one MLA from the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) (HAM(S)) were inducted in the state cabinet.
ADR and Bihar Election Watch have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 32 out of 33 ministers, including that of the chief minister, from 2020.
The report said that out of the 32 ministers in the Bihar cabinet, 23 (72 percent) MLAs have declared criminal cases against themselves, and that most of them are from the RJD. Out of the 23 ministers with a criminal background, 17 have said in their affidavit that they are facing serious criminal charges.
15 ministers from the RJD declared serious criminal cases against themselves. Out of the 11 ministers from the Nitish camp, four hold a criminal background, followed by two ministers from the Congress and one from the HAM(S).
The report further added that more than 80 percent ministers in the Bihar cabinet are crorepatis. 16 ministers from the RJD and nine from the JD(U) are crorepatis.
The minister with the highest declared total assets is RJD’s Samir Kumar Mahaseth, with the declared total worth Rs 24.45 crores.
According to the ADR report, only 25 percent of the ministers have declared their educational qualification in their election affidavit. Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, who holds four portfolios – health, road construction, urban development and housing and rural works – declared his educational qualification as 8th grade pass.
Earlier, the ADR had analysed Maharashtra’s newly sworn-in cabinet led by Eknath Shinde. The report found that 75 percent of Maharashtra’s ministers have a criminal background. According to the body’s analysis, 20 out of the 15 ministers have declared criminal cases against themselves in their election affidavit, of which, 13 ministers have a serious criminal background.
The report analysed that eight out of 10 ministers from the BJP have a criminal background, of which, six are facing serious criminal charges. Additionally, seven ministers from the Eknath Shinde-led rebel Shiv Sena faction have declared criminal cases against themselves.