Hindustan Times

Of the total 253 candidates contesting Lok Sabha elections in Punjab, over 50 per cent contestants are under matric and matric pass while only 32 per cent are graduate and post graduate, according to an ADR report.

As many as 68 candidates are under matric while 62 contestants have passed their 10th class exams out of total 253 candidates who are in the fray, as per the analysis carried out by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Among under matric contestants, Congress has fielded Joginder Singh Panjgraian from Faridkot seat while Shiromani Akali Dal (B) is tethering hopes to Ranjit Singh Brahmpura from Khadoor Sahib. Both these contestants are 8th grade pass, as per the ADR report.

According to the report, nine contestants are illiterate, though none of them belong to any major political party.

Besides, there are 62 candidates who have only passed class 10th exams. Prominent among them are Kulwant Singh who is contesting on SAD ticket from Fatehgarh Sahib. Realtor- turned-politician Kulwant Singh is the richest candidate with assets worth Rs. 139 crore among all candidates in Punjab.

Congress has also fielded matric pass candidate Sadhu Singh Dharamsot against Kulwant on Fatehgarh Sahib (Reserve) seat.

SAD has shown faith in another matric pass contestant and sitting MP Sher Singh Ghubaya from Ferozepur seat while BJP has fielded 10th grade pass candidate Vijay Sampla from Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha seat, as per the ADR analysis.

A total of 80 candidates testing electoral waters in Punjab are graduate, graduate professional and post graduate.

Prominent among them are Congress candidate Partap Singh Bajwa from Gurdaspur seat, Congress nominee Preneet Kaur from Patiala and BJP's Vinod Khanna from Gurdaspur.

Aam Aadmi Party has fielded a few graduates including Baldeep Singh from Khadoor Sahib, Jasraj Longia from Bathinda, Jyoti Mann from Jalandhar, Sucha Singh Chottepur from Gurdaspur and Yamini Gomar from Hoshiarpur.

Among 21 graduate professionals are BJP's Arun Jaitley (LLB from University of Delhi) from Amritsar seat and AAP's H S Phoolka (LLB from Panjab Univ) who is contesting from Ludhiana.

Only 29 candidates hold post graduate degrees. Notable among them are Congress candidate from Anandpur Sahib Ambika Soni, who has done Post Graduate Diploma in Spanish and Literature from University of Havana (Cuba) and AAP's Amritsar contestant - eye surgeon Daljit Singh who is MBBS and MS.

A total 253 candidates in Punjab are in the fray. The state will witness a single phase poll on April 30.

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