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Padhai Likhai
Most undergrads, some matriculates
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 25
Worthies in poll fray are not so worthy after all. Most political bigwigs, seeking a pie in the power cake, are quite starved, academically. Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Opposition leader Parkash Singh Badal are no more than plain graduates.

Lower in the hierarchy, academics have to be hunted for, as top brass in the Congress and the SAD remains high on undergraduates, matriculates, even under-matriculates. From the Congress, Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, former Health Minister and candidate from Anandpur Sahib, is a matriculate and a medical practitioner, as per official records. How he handles both jobs is anybody’s guess.

Among other famous matriculate Congress men are ministers Chaudhary Jagjit Singh and Lal Singh, Mr Rakesh Pandey and Chief Parliamentary Secretary Surinder Davar. Punjab Housing Minister Raghunath Sahai Puri and Congress poster boy Rana Gurmit Sodhi are no better.

The former is an intermediate, the latter a plus two. In the same league is Mr O.P. Soni, Congress candidate from Amritsar West. He is an undergraduate. A former Mayor, Mr Soni has never lost an election.

Now about Akali stalwarts. Be it Capt Kanwaljit Singh or former ministers Jagdish Singh Garcha or Tota Singh (all are in fray), academic profiles don’t get any better.

While Capt Kanwaljit and Mr Tota Singh are FSc and FA, respectively, Mr Garcha is a matriculate. So are former Akali ministers Ajit Singh Kohar and Gobind Singh Kanjla, all seeking re-election. Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmapura is also a mere matriculate. He represented Punjab at the Indo-British Trade Fair in the UK during Akali regime.

About other Akali heavyweights like former ministers Hira Singh Zira (from Zira), Gurdev Singh Badal (Panjgaraian) and two-time Barnala MLA Malkit Keetu (Barnala), the lesser said the better. They are under-matriculates, as is Mr Des Raj Thugga, the second-time Akali choice from Gardiwala. On the Akali list is also Mr Balbir Ghunas, a two-time Bhadaur MLA, whose education level is “primary”.

As for postgraduates, the numbers are limited. From the Congress, ministers Jagmohan Kang and Sardul Singh are MA, LLB. The party, however, abounds in BA, LLB - like Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Mr Jasjit Randhawa, Mr Mohinder Kaypee and Mr Hans Raj Joshan. Ministers who are graduate are Mr Ramesh Dogra (BSc, Civil Engineering), Mr Avtar Henri (BA) and Mr A.S. Samra (BSc Agriculture).

On the Akali front, the few MAs are former Milkfed Chairman Jagdeep Nakai, contesting from Joga, and two-time Kotkapura MLA Mantar Brar, who is MA (History). The younger lot in the SAD-BJP combine are mostly graduate, be it Mr Manpreet Badal, BA, LLB Honours ; the grandson of Partap Singh Kairon, Mr Adaish Kairon, BE, or BJP stalwart Avinash Rai Khanna, BCom, LLB.

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