Fixed deposits and tax-free bonds seem to be among the most favored financial investments for the political leaders fighting the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, while mutual funds and stocks also adorn the portfolios of many and some even have got shares of long-defunct firms like Kingfisher Airlines.
Shares of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), the country’s most valued company with a market capitalisation of over Rs 8.82 lakh crore, can be found in the portfolios of several leaders, while stocks and mutual fund units of the firms from younger brother Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group are also a common sight, as per disclosures made in election affidavits of the contestants.
However, some top leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi have no stock market or mutual fund exposure at all and their financial savings are limited to deposits in banks, tax-free bonds, insurance policies and instruments like National Savings Certificate.
The direct equity investments for a few are limited to unlisted companies, including those owned by their families.
BJP President Amit Shah has disclosed a long list of listed and unlisted shares in his name and in the name of his spouse. The listed shares in his name, totaling over Rs 17.5 crore, include companies from Aditya Birla Group, Bajaj, L&T, Tata and both Reliance groups, as also several PSUs.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has disclosed equity holding in Young Indian and investments in several mutual funds. The portfolio of his mother and senior party leader Sonia Gandhi includes equity shares of Young Indian and Maruti Technical Services Pvt Ltd and mutual fund units of HDFC, Kotak, Motilal Oswal, and Reliance MF.
NCP’s Supriya Sule, daughter of veteran leader Sharad Pawar, has got unlisted shares worth over Rs 1 crore and listed shares worth over Rs 6 crore, besides some mutual funds.
The listed shares include those of Adani Group firms, the two Reliance groups, several Tata firms, and even Kingfisher Airlines as also of some other companies from the erstwhile UB Group, including United Spirits which was sold by defaulter businessman Vijay Mallya to global liquor giant Diageo Plc.
Kingfisher shares have long been delisted from the stock exchanges, though they quoted at above Rs 300 apiece once. The stocks eventually slipped below Re 1 and trading was eventually suspended in 2014-end after mounting troubles for the erstwhile luxury airline had led to its closure.
Union minister and BJP candidate from Nagpur Nitin Gadkari has equity shares of Purti Power and Sugar Ltd, among other investments.