School dropouts dominate phase 1 of J&K polls

SRINAGAR: In the five assembly segments of the valley going to polls in the first of the five-phased elections in Jammu and Kashmir a shocking 67 per cent candidates in the fray have had only school education or less. 

Gurez, Bandipore, Sonawari, Ganderbal and Kangan assembly segments will be going to polls in the first phase of elections on November 25. Affidavits filed by the candidates for these constituencies reveal that academics was not a priority for a majority of them in their early years. Out of the 50 candidates, 16 have studied only till standard eighth, whereas 11 of them have passed the tenth standard exams conducted by the State Board of School Education.

The PDP candidate from Ganderbal- Qazi Mohammad Afzal, who was a minister in the PDP-Congress coalition government from 2002 to 2008, has mentioned "NIL" in the Highest Educational Qualification Column. Afzal's Congress rival in Ganderbal Mohammad Yousuf Bhat has declared that he qualified for the 10th standard examination through a night school.

Press Trust of India reports that nearly 32 per cent of the candidates are graduates or have post graduate qualifications.

Segment-wise, Kangan assembly seat has seven candidates who have not studied beyond eighth standard. But the other three candidates are all graduates. The main fight for Kangan constituency is expected between National Conference candidate Mian Altaf Ahmad (LLB) and PDP's Bashir Ahmad Mir (Graduate).

Bandipore Assembly segment has six candidates whose educational qualification is below matric level while Ganderbal has two such candidates and Sonawari assembly segment has one.

Surprisingly, Gurez Assembly segment which is bang on the Line of Control and one of the under-developed areas of Kashmir has no under-matric candidate. Of the four candidates in Gurez, three are graduates and one has passed the 10th standard (matric) examination.

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