Banshidhar Bauddh, a small farmer from Bahraich district in Uttar Pradesh has become a state minister in the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party government. Unlike other ministers, the 58-year-old MLA from Balah constituency, lives in a hut with his wife, five sons and three daughters-in-law, and has savings of about Rs 58,000.
In the past he has served as a chowkidar and ran a roadside kiosk to mend bicycle punctures. Interestingly, Bauddh is not even eligible to pay income tax as he doesn’t qualify for Indian Income Tax bracket. While the MLA was living this obscure life for the past many decades, things took a positive turn when he was suddenly inducted as a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government. Bauddh was elected as an MLA in the 2014 bypolls. In his election affidavit back in 2014, he had stated that he does not own any four wheelers, jewellery or even a PAN Card. The savings in his bank account are now Rs 58,000, which at the time of 2014 by-elections were mere Rs 27,000.
His election affidavit also shows that his wife just has Rs 4,750 and some basic silver jewellery which was worth Rs 63,000. In addition, he also has an agriculture loan of Rs 1.25 lakh to pay off. Baudhh, who travels in a motorcycle, will now get a government owned car after becoming a UP minister. Talking about this, Bauddh told Hindustan Times
“Now they are giving me a red beacon car. I will use it to shuttle between Lucknow and my village and to go around my constituency to get development works done there. My area is extremely backward. More than 45 kilometre of the area is a forest and there is not a single college in a 50-km radius.”
While Bauddh is considered ‘literate’ he has never attended a school or college in his life and thus wants to change that for his constituency. He has kept a college at the top priority and has already made his request to the UP CM Akhilesh Yadav for it. Talking about his farm lands, he said:
” I just harvested paddy, and cane is waiting. I came this morning and I am going back to my village tonight.”
In the 2014 by-polls, Bauddh had secured 52 per cent votes against 39 per cent of his nearest rival—BJP’s Akshibar Lal.