On 26 April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi filed his electoral affidavit to contest the Lok Sabha elections from the constituency of Varanasi. Details in his affidavit, clubbed with his recent public comments, confirm that when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, Modi gifted himself government land in a posh locality in Gandhinagar. The plot he received is now worth over Rs 1 crore, nearly a hundred times the amount he paid for it. Further, the prime minister’s comments indicate that in 2007, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader Meenakshi Lekhi, while appearing as the counsel for the state of Gujarat, concealed this fact in submissions to the Supreme Court. Lekhi told the apex court that no fresh land allotments had taken place in Gujarat after the year 2000. Modi first became eligible to receive government land in 2001, when he was appointed the chief minister of Gujarat. He entered the legislative assembly in February 2002, when he won a by-election in the state’s Rajkot-II constituency.
Earlier this month, The Caravan published an article regarding the land assets that the prime minister had declared in his election affidavits since 2007, and the public filings on his PMINDIA website. The article noted that a public interest litigation had recently been filed in the Supreme Court, alleging that, Modi omitted crucial details regarding his assets. The PIL was filed by Saket Gokhale, a former journalist who now works as an independent communications and marketing consultant.
The Caravan reported that in an election affidavit filed in 2007, Modi declared that he was the sole owner of Plot 411, in Sector 1, Gandhinagar, in Gujarat. Mentions of this plot are missing from his subsequent election affidavits—filed in 2012 and 2014—and declarations he has made on the prime minister’s official website every year since he was appointed to the post. Instead, Modi claimed in his affidavits that he owned a quarter of “Plot 401/A,” in the same sector. He listed the area of the plot as 14,125.80 square feet, approximately four times the size of the standard plots in Sector 1. Modi listed his share as 3531.45 square feet—equaling 328.08 square metres.