Jennifer Shaheen Hussain
Ahead of Assam Assembly elections, a report on the educational qualifications of the state’s MLAs revealed that 62 per cent of the legislators are graduates, and BJP cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and AIUDF MLA Rafiqul Islam are the highest educated legislators with each having a doctoral degree to their educational backgrounds.
The report called ‘The analysis of educational background of the sitting MLAs‘ published by the Association for Democratic Reforms stated that 74 (62 per cent) MLAs have a qualification of an undergraduate or higher, while, 44 (37 per cent) legislators educational qualification is between Class 5th and 12th pass.
The analysis was done based on the educational qualifications of 119 legislators of the Assam Legislative Assembly whose affidavits have been submitted to the election commission.
The data revealed that the Assam legislature comprises 38 graduates and nine post-graduates of which the Bharatiya Janata Party has 16 graduates and five graduate professionals; INC has eight graduates and two graduate professionals, Asom Gana Parishad has five graduates and two graduate professionals, Bodoland People’s Front has six graduates while All India United Democratic Front has three.
There are 25 post-graduate legislators in the Assam legislature. Out of the 25, 13 MLAs belong to BJP, followed by four MLAs of AGP, three MLAs of AIUDF and two MLAs each of INC and BPF.
The report also mentioned the politicians having qualification between 5th and 12th pass across all parties wherein 43% of MLAs are from AIUDF (6 out of 14), 41% BJP MLAs (24 out of 59), 35% INC MLAs (7 out of 20), 33% BPF MLAs (4 out of 12) and 15% AGP MLAs (2 out of 13).
A total of 20 legislators are 12th pass, while 21 are 10th pass. BJP comprises 13 10th pass and 11 12th pass, followed by INC with two 10th pass and four 12th pass, BPF has a single 10th pass and three 12th pass, AGP has a single 10th and 12th pass each, and AIUDF has three 10th pass and a single 12th pass, and an independent candidate is a 10th pass.
INC MLA from Badarpur Constituency Jamal Uddin Ahmed has the lowest education of being 5th pass; while, MLA from Karimganj South Constituency Aziz Ahmed Khan and Algapur Constituency AIUDF MLA Nizam Uddin Choudhury is the only 8th pass among the legislators, the report added.
Notably, as per the Indian constitution, any candidate to contest elections requires being an Indian national, should be a registered voter, and minimum of 25 years old. The Indian political system doesn’t prescribe a minimum educational qualification to contest elections in the country.
The Assam Assembly Election for this year is slated to be held between April to May.