Ranchi: The fifth and last phase of the assembly election will have 132 candidates who are graduates, shows an independent study based on affidavits filed by contesting candidates. It also says nearly 63% of them never went to college and opted out of schools with elementary education.

The report released by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) stated that 132 of the 208 aspiring legislators on 16 seats in the tribal heartland hold education degrees up to high school.

Chief minister Hemant Soren himself did not pursue a college course after he passed out intermediate examination with science in 1994. He was admitted to BIT Mesra, though he could not complete his study and the information is missing from the affidavit.

Every candidate fielded by front-ranking parties in Rajmahal assembly seat is a Class XII passout with Shankar Mondal of Shivsena having a seventh standard certificate.

However, Soren's predecessors Babulal Marandi and Madhu Koda, whose fates were sealed in the second and third phases on December 9 and 14, have graduation degrees to their name.

The fifth phase has the highest number of undergraduates in comparison to the previous four. Overall, a staggering 60% of 1136 candidates in the 2014 assembly election never went to college. The state's condition is worse than Jammu and Kashmir (which is polling along side Jharkhand since November 25) and has only 50% of undergrad candidates, two of them being illiterates.

"Blame it on the low literacy rate in tribal provinces," said a senior Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP)leader, refusing to be named.

"But having said that, all candidates (BJP) have been fielded keeping in mind their capability to deliver for the people," he added. JMM workers, for which Santhal has remained an impregnable fortress for long, also flagged the work candidates can do for upliftment of the province.

Despite half of them being undergraduates, a fairly large proportion of young candidates are set to occupy the seats in state assembly early next year as 75% of the total are below 50 years of age.

However, there will not be much women representation in the house with women candidates comprising mere 8.6% of the total aspirants.

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