The Times Of India
Sukhada Tatke

MUMBAI: Though just a minuscule minority among the total contenders, there are candidates in the BMC fray who are highly educated and have professional qualifications. A study of the data published by the state election commission shows that more than 35 well-educated men and women are contesting the civic election, most of them as Independents.

As many as 15 doctors are standing for the election. Four of them are Independents. Doctors are followed by 12 candidates who possess a post-graduate degree in law. Besides them, there are in the fray five engineers and four who have other post-graduate degrees. In all, 17 highly educated candidates are Independents.

Experts admitted that education does not necessarily translate into abilities to govern better, but welcomed the fact that more professionals are entering electoral politics.

Dr Neelam Rane said she decided to contest the election from Chembur after getting exasperated with the all-pervasive corruption. "Whatever has been happening in the city is just not acceptable. If the civic body has such a large budget, why doesn't it translate into better civic amenities? It was this that prompted me to give it a shot," she said.

Ajit Ranade of the Association for Democratic Reforms said that education should not be the sole reason for choosing a candidate; at the same time, its usefulness in governance cannot be ruled out.

"We do have examples of people with low educational qualifications who have done great public service. For instance, former chief minister Vasantdada Patil was not highly educated but performed well during his tenure," Ranade said.

"At the same time, there will always be examples of post-graduates and double graduates who have serious criminal cases pending against them. One can say that since democracy is all about public discourse, communication and so on, literacy is almost an essential. The complexity of modern governments requires to have a decent level of education," Ranade added. 

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