The Times of India

NAGPUR: There was a lot of controversy after Smriti Irani was made the union HRD minister. Opposition parties harped over her qualifications of just Std XII pass to say that she was not qualified for the job.

In Maharashtra as well, highly qualified legislators are not very common. Only 87 out of 284 MLAs, who emerged winners in 2009 polls, hold graduate degrees while a meagre 29 are postgraduates, as per the analysis conducted by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), based on their affidavits filed with the Election Commission. This means only 31% MLAs are graduates and just 11% are postgraduates.

The Delhi-based election watchdog mentioned that about 55 MLAs are matriculates (Std X passed) while 51 have cleared their Std XII. One candidate is illiterate while four have not even studied until Std V. Seven have cleared Std V and 11 cleared Std VIII. Just four MLAs, including one from Vidarbha (Former EGS minister Nitin Raut) holds doctorate (PhD) degree.

East Nagpur MLA and city BJP chief Krishna Khopde has not studied after Std VIII while Vikas Kumbhare from Nagpur Central, Chandrashekhar Bawankule from Kamptee and Sudhir Parwe from Umred, have not studied beyond Std XII, though they appeared in first/second years.

On a brighter note, two candidates, apart from Raut, possess a PhD. They include former ministers Satish Chaturvedi and Anees Ahmed, who lost in the 2009 polls. Interestingly, both of them are probably among highest qualified ones with having LLB degrees to their credit. While Chaturvedi has double MA degrees, Ahmed has also completed his MBA.

Some sitting MLAs have professional degrees like law (LLB) and MBA to their credit, which included state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis and Ramtek MLA Ashish Jaiswal, and Saoner MLA Sunil Kedar respectively. Former minister for food and civil supplies Anil Deshmukh holds postgraduate degree in agriculture sciences. Others like South Nagpur MLA Dinanath Padole, West MLA Sudhakar Deshmukh and city Congress chief Vikas Thakre are graduates.

A majority of these sitting MLAs and former ministers have shown their occupation as business. They included Khopde, Padole, Thakre, Ahmed, Raut, Anil Deshmukh and Kedar. Fadnavis and Kumbhare have mentioned their occupation as social workers while Sudhakar Deshmukh and Bawankule are farmers, as per their affidavits. Chaturvedi has mentioned that he is an agriculturist and self-employed while Parwe wrote his occupation as insurance agent and sheep seller.

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