Out of 59 women MPs in the current Lok Sabha, 10 per cent or 17 per cent have pending criminal cases against them. Forty of them, accounting for 68 per cent, are also crorepatis.
These are powerful statistics — especially in the hands of the opponents of the Women's Reservation Bill. Yet, place these figures next to those for the male MPs, and some of the drama disappears.
According to National Election Watch (NEW), which compiled these figures, of 484 male MPs in the current Lok Sabha, 152 or 31 per cent have pending criminal cases. As Anil Bairwal of NEW puts it: “Women MPs seem to be twice as clean as male MPs.”
Of the 10 women MPs implicated, two or 20 per cent face serious charges — in one case, a charge of attempt to murder. Of 152 male MPs with criminal records, 74 or 49 per cent face serious charges, including murder and other violent crimes. If cleaner politics is the yardstick, women would seem a better bet as suggested by the figures — 17 per cent versus 31 per cent and 20 per cent versus 49 per cent.
However, at 68 per cent of the total, more women MPs would seem to be crorepatis compared to men (57 per cent). But the catch here is that far more of the male MPs fall in the seriously-rich category.
Topping the list with a total asset value of Rs.173.75 crore is Telugu Desam Party MP Nama Nageswara Rao. Naveen Jindal of the Congress is next with a total asset value of Rs.131 crore. Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy falls in the sixth spot with Rs.67. 8 crore, while Ratna Singh of the Congress, the wealthiest among women MPs, is placed seventh with a total asset value of Rs.67.8 crore.
The Shiromani Akali Dal's Harsimrat Kaur and the Nationalist Congress Party's Supriya Sule take the eighth and ninth spots with asset values of Rs.60.3 crore and Rs.50. 4 crore respectively. The Janata Dal (Secular)'s H.D. Kumarswamy ranks 11th with an asset value of Rs. 48. 4 crore.
A late correction. The first paragraph of a report “Twice as clean as male MPs” (March 13, 2010) was “Out of 59 women MPs in the current Lok Sabha, 10 per cent or 17 per cent have pending criminal cases against them. Twice as clean as male MPs.” It should have said “10 persons or 17 per cent”