The 2023 Karnataka Assembly elections, scheduled to be held on May 10, this time will once again parade its share of wealthy electoral candidates. Most politicians from this southern state reportedly hail from money spinning sectors such as real estate, mining, and education and on an average, Karnataka MLAs have assets worth ₹34.6 crore, the highest among all the states.
With assets worth ₹27.9 crore on an average, Andhra Pradesh MLAs come second. Maharashtra MLAs, with assets worth ₹22.4 crore, come third, according to reports analysing data provided by the Association for Democratic Reform’s finance reports of MLAs.
When the 2023 assembly election candidates filed their nominations disclosing their assets, several prominent leaders have shown assets worth over thousands of crores. Interestingly, many have witnessed an upsurge in their net worth since the last Assembly polls.
Here are five ‘richest’ candidates in the fray in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly polls:
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Shazia Tarannum is contesting as the richest candidate in this election. KGF resident Yusuf Sharif aka KGF Babu, who started a gujri business in Bengaluru and developed it to the extent that he became a billionaire, has fielded his wife Shazia Tarannum as an independent candidate from the Bengaluru Central Chikpet constituency. While filing his wife’s nomination papers, Yusuf Sharif has stated the value of his total assets to be ₹1,674 crores.
M T B Nagaraj
Small-scale industries minister and BJP candidate from Hoskote constituency, M T B Nagaraj enjoys the enviable position of being the richest candidate in this upcoming election, with assets worth ₹1,614 crore. He got richer by ₹389 crore in the last three years and continues to be the richest politician in the state.
Nagaraj, who is currently an MLC, was among the 17 rebels who defected from the Congress to the BJP in 2019. He won from Hoskote constituency in Bangalore Rural district on a Congress ticket in 2018 but lost the 2019 bypoll on a BJP ticket. He is contesting on a saffron party ticket in 2023 from the Hoskote assembly constituency.
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The Congress’ state chief and seven-time MLA, DK Shivakumar, has become richer by ₹840.08 crore as compared to the 2018 Assembly polls. His assets are worth ₹1,413.78 crore, making him the second richest candidate in the fray. His party’s chief ministerial hopeful, DKS, filed his nomination from the Kanakpura constituency. He owns educational institutions and runs real estate and granite businesses among others besides facing 19 criminal cases.
Priya Krishna, who is one among the richest candidates in the fray, has declared total declared assets at ₹1,156 crore. This former Congress legislator from Govindarajanagar, is the son of realtor-politician M Krishnappa, MLA from Vijayanagar. His assets have increased by ₹136.8 crore in the last five years, even as his liabilities have also shot up.
Krishna has a well-known penchant for fancy registration numbers. And, all his private cars bear the registration number of ‘9279,’ registered in different regional transport offices in Bengaluru. According to his affidavit, some of his immoveable assets are ‘gifted’.
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Suresh BS., also known as Byrathi Suresh, contesting from Hebbal constituency on a Congress ticket, has declared assets worth ₹648.12 crore. This marks an increase of ₹231.42 crore from his net worth in the last five years when his assets were valued at ₹416.7 crore in 2018. Suresh’s liabilities have also shot up from ₹41 crore in 2018 to ₹114.86 crore now.
He has stated that his profession is that of an agriculturalist and a landlord.
Karnataka’s horticulture minister, who is contesting from the Rajarajeshwari Nagar Assembly seat, figures among the richest candidates in the polls. With assets amounting to Rs 293 crore, his net worth has increased by ₹250 crore since the last Assembly election in 2018.