How educated are candidates in Lok Sabha elections?

An election rally of CPI (ML) in Koderma in Jharkhand

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Lok Sabha poll candidates include 121 illiterates & 198 with doctoral degrees

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, May 24: The ongoing Lok Sabha elections turned the spotlight on voters’ apathy for them not storming to polling booths to assert their democratic rights. The popular vocation in poll time remains whipping voters while politicians remain high priests of democracy, seldom touched for their follies.

The Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) examined educational records of candidates in the fray in the Lok Sabha elections. It found 121 of them with zero formal education.

Knowledge of human nature is the beginning and the end of political education, said Henry Adams years ago. It appears that majority of the candidates in the fray in the Lok Sabha elections literally follow words of Adams.

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“The ADR has analyzed the educational qualifications of the candidates contesting the current Lok Sabha elections. This shows that 121 candidates are illiterate and have not even received school education,” said the poll watchdog in a statement.

It further gave break ups of the levels of education accessed by the candidates, and found that the majority of them had not gone to colleges. For a vast majority of the candidates, formal education lasted till class 12.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a record third term in the office. Political commentators largely concur that Modi will retain power at the Centre.

Millions of people in the national capital will vote in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections on Saturday. The sixth phase of the polling on June 1 will cap the extended exercise. The verdict will eventually be known by noon of June 4.

Researchers majorly found that the candidates lack educational training to make them competent lawmakers. There are just 198 candidates with doctoral degrees. The ADR examined the educational records of 8337 candidates. It scanned affidavits from nomination papers of the candidates.

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“According to the affidavit filed by the candidates, 121 candidates contesting the elections are illiterate, while 359 of them have studied till fifth standard, 647 till eighth standard, 1303 candidates till 12th and 1502 till graduate level,” said the ADR in the statement.

It further stated that 198 candidates in the poll fray have doctoral degrees. The poll watchdog noted that while attention had largely been paid to the criminal and financial backgrounds of the candidates, the education skills lacked the popular interest.

“The ADR analyzed the educational qualifications of 8337 candidates out of 8360 contesting the Lok Sabha elections. In the first phase, 639 candidates have shown educational qualification from 5th to 12th, while 836 candidates are graduates, 26 are illiterate and 36 have said that they can read and write,” added the poll watchdog.

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It also mentioned that there were four candidates who did not mention their educational qualifications. “In the second phase, the educational qualification of 533 candidates was between 5th-12th, 574 said graduate, eight illiterates, 37 only knew how to read and write, while three did not give any details of educational qualification,” said the ADR.

It further gave the summary for the educational records of the candidates in the third phase — the number of candidates educated from 5th to 12th is 639, while 591 are graduates, 19 are illiterate and 56 can read and write.

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“In the fourth phase, 644 candidates have studied from class 5-12, while 944 are graduates and 26 are illiterate. In the fifth phase, 293 candidates have studied from class 5-12, while 349 are graduates and 5 are illiterate,” added the ADR.

In the sixth phase, 322 candidates have studied from 5th to 12th, while 487 are graduates, 22 have diploma degree and 13 are illiterates. “In the seventh phase, 402 candidates are from 5th-12th, 430 have graduate degrees, 20 have diplomas and 13 are uneducated candidates,” added the ADR.

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