The irony and the contrast cannot be more glaring than this. Picture this: Sardaru Ram, an MLA of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly in the late 50s lived the typical simple life of an honest politician, and died as a poor cobbler. It left his son, Meenu Ram, with no choice but to continue his profession to feed his family.
Sardaru Ram had become an MLA in 1957 but had to resume his job as a cobbler after losing his seat in 1962. Meenu Ram, now 65, makes a few hundred rupees daily by repairing shoes at his temporary shop in Bilaspur, 135 km from Shimla. The family lives in a mud house that Sardaru Ram built for them. Sardaru had reached the Assembly in 1957 after winning from Teeun constituency (now Jhandoota).
Interestingly, among the 68 MLAs in Himachal Pradesh, at least 44 are crorepatis. Brij Bihari Lal Butail, worth Rs.169 crore, is the richest MLA in the state.