Rohit Mullick

Punjab politicians fair quite well when it comes to literacy scorecard, with 47% of total contestants in these assembly elections being at least a graduate, if not more.

According to data released by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Punjab Election Watch (PEW), 190 candidates, out of the 408 analyzed, are graduates or with higher educational qualification. Calling this percentage of graduates "respectable", PEW coordinator Jaskirat Singh said that Punjab politicians, when compared to many others from other states, were better educated.

There are 56 candidates who have done their post graduation and 47 politicians are graduate professionals. Congress has fielded the highest number of graduates (35) and graduate professionals (18) and also has the highest number of class 10 pass (26). PPP has fielded the highest number of postgraduates (18), followed by SAD (17).

There are seven candidates, who are illiterate, and 61 contestants, who are either class VIII pass or less. As many as 29 candidates are primary pass or below, 92 have cleared matriculation and 57 are class XII pass.

Some of the politicians, who are completely illiterate and contesting elections, include Malkiat Singh Keetu and Gurdev Singh of SAD, Baldev Singh and Prem Masih of BSP, Subhash Chander of CPI and Vijay Pal of PPP.

Well-known singer Mohammed Sadique, who is the Congress candidate from Bhadaur, has completed his primary education. Other candidates who have studied up to class V or below include Gulzar Singh Ranike, Balvir Singh, Chetan Singh Samaon and Surender Singh Bhulewal of SAD, Bibi Ranjit Kaur and Daljit Singh of PPP and Karnail Chand, Swaran Kaur and Bhajan Singh of BSP.

Various parties have fielded only 29 women candidates in the elections and only nine politicians are less than 30 years old.

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