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Educations matters? In Punjab polls, 21% of the candidates haven't studied beyond…

One in every five candidates of the frontline parties in poll-bound Punjab has not studied beyond matriculation. And almost a third of them dropped out of school before reaching Class 10.

Of the 351 candidates fielded by the main parties or alliances — Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) — 74 are “under-matric” or passed their matriculation examination and gave up studies. That is 21%!

The data is based information provided by the candidates in signed affidavits submitted along with their nomination papers to the Election Commission for the February 4 polls.

There is not much to make a distinction between the traditional parties, as the Congress and the SAD-BJP combine have almost an equal number of contestants who have not studied beyond matriculation — 31 and 29, respectively. The AAP and its alliance partner Lok Insaaf Party (LSP), both newbies, have one ‘under-matric’ and 13 matriculates in their line-up.

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In the 14th state assembly (2012-17), 35 of the total 117 MLAs were matriculates or below. The new House may not look much different, as most of the MLAs are likely to be from these parties who are locked in a close triangular contest.

There are another 74 candidates from these parties who cleared their Class 12 exams or enrolled in college but did not complete their degree courses.

There is some good news too: more than half the candidates have graduation or higher educational qualifications. And several of them have professional degrees in law, medicine or business management.

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While chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s son-in-law and food and supplies minister, Adaish Partap Singh Kairon, has an engineering degree with an MBA, his colleague Upinderjit Kaur did her MA in economics from Delhi School of Economics and PhD from Punjabi University, Patiala. Congress candidate Manpreet Singh Badal is an honours graduate from Delhi’s St Stephen’s College and barrister-at-law from University of London.

Literate, or not applicable!

The affidavits filed by several contestants do not have complete information on their education. A few have ducked disclosure of details by merely mentioning ‘under-matric’. Others such as SAD candidate from Ferozepur Rural, Joginder Singh, has written “lagoo nahin” (Not Applicable) in the education column, otherwise signed in English. Another SAD legislator and animal husbandry minister Gulzar Singh Ranike has merely written ‘literate’

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Educations matters? In Punjab polls, 21% of the candidates haven't studied beyond…