To make things look as transparent as possible but seemingly opaque, we surf through a list of cabinet ministers and the cars they own that really gives an impression we should declare our lives to be as simple as possible yet looking quite complex when it comes to affordability. No, the cars that these ministers own are not the fancy Hollywood cars, but simple cars that move on the same four wheels.
Cabinet ministers don’t necessarily have to go for a super car when the Government provides them enough luxuries in a chauffeur-driven car. Do they really need a personal car – yes, but with a mantra – let’s buy a simple car.
Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, owns a Maruti 800, a 1996 model. This does highlight Singh’s attitude not being influenced either by a sensational Bollywood movie or his own identity as PM of India. His small car says it all. Mr. Singh’s car’s now worth a paltry Rs. 27,500. Anybody going for an auction?; Singh’s declared his total assets at Rs. 51 million.
Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister, owns a Ford Ikon, a 2000 model, now worth Rs. 1,06,250, although he’s a step ahead of Mr. Singh and probably made a jump in 2000, now that’s transformation and not exactly a ‘transformer’ type.
Jairam Ramesh, Rural Development Minister, owns a Maruti Zen, a 2004 model, who joins the league of extraordinary gentlemen with his humble approach like Mr. Mukherjee and Mr. Singh with his Zen now worth Rs. 3,50,000.
The ‘point to be noted my Lord’ is surely applicable when it comes to Mr. Sharad Pawar, Agriculture Minister, who has no cars, sad isn’t it? Whether Mr. Pawar’s sad about the farmers’ plight or has no rice in his lush-green paddy fields is unknown. Everybody knows he’s one of the richest ministers in India with declared assets of over Rs. 125 million. Perhaps, he’s self-declared his innings due to too much of ‘IPL-ing’ (appealing).
Kamal Nath, Minister for Urban Development owns an Ambassador and a Tata Nano (LX) with assets declared over Rs. 2.63 billion, though Mr. Nath’s not shy when compared to Mr. Pawar in buying a Nano and an ambassador. He’s right as he’s found more room in his Nano which can fit Mr. Tata and also in the strong Ambassador to hide his assets or perhaps looking for the Nano to catch fire and jump into a Merc soon. His Nano is worth Rs. 1,96,332 and his Ambassador Rs. 4,84,822.
A.K. Antony, Defence Minister, owns a humble Wagon R. Records suggest the car’s in his wife’s name. His wife says it’s a second-hand car bought for Rs. 1,36,000. Mr. Anthony modestly has declared his assets to be Rs. 1,82,000; with poor assets declared, he should have walked to office daily!
Now comes, P. Chidambaram, Home Minister, who owns quite a few cars. He owns a Skoda, Ford Fiesta and a VW. He says he’s spent about Rs. 4.6 million while the models bought weren’t disclosed. Perhaps, he’s conscious about his traditional wear and went ahead buying 3 cars at least. He also has a cycle to his name, probably MGR’s the inspiration behind this.
Now, we have a class act in Mr. Kapil Sibal, Telecom Minister, who despite owning a sedan, Toyota Corolla, Suzuki Jeep and Hyundai Sonata, rides an Enfield Bullet to his ministry. This is why we see Eicher or Royal Enfield India not advertising Bullet when they have Mr. Sibal doing all the charity work for the company! His vehicles are worth Rs. 7,97,000.
S.M. Krishna, Foreign Minister, indeed had to be at his best with a Mitsubishi Lancer and Hyundai Sonata just because he needs to take people from Pakistan for a drive. His Mitsubishi Lancer is worth Rs. 8,30,000 and Sonata Rs. 13,08,000.
Salman Khursheed, Law Minister, owns a Mahindra Jeep, a 1999 model and a Toyota Innova, 2005 model. Both the cars are worth Rs.10,00,000 along with an old imported car valued at Rs.1,13,093!!