More than half of the candidates of ruling and Opposition fronts and the BJP contesting the Assembly elections in Kerala are graduates or postgraduates. Four candidates have doctorates.
An analysis of data pertaining to 418 candidates belonging to the LDF, UDF and the BJP by Election Watch Kerala showed that none of the candidates were illiterates. While 13 candidates (3.1 per cent) had just passed the fifth standard, 174 candidates (42 per cent) were graduates or graduate professionals. Postgraduates numbered 46 (11 per cent).
The analysis also showed that 73 per cent of candidates fielded by the Congress and 93 per cent of the candidates fielded by the Kerala Congress (M) were graduates and above. The percentage of graduates and higher degree holders among CPI (M) and CPI candidates were 43 per cent and 56 per cent respectively. While 47 per cent of the candidates of BJP were graduates or higher degree holders, only 35 per cent of the candidates of Muslim League were graduates and above.
More than 84 per cent of the candidates (352/418) are in the age group of 36-65 while only nine candidates were less than 30 years old. There are 16 candidates among the main contestants who are more than 71 years of age.
A total of 278 candidates (67 per cent) out of 418 candidates have declared that they have never filed Income Tax returns. Of them, 219 have not given PAN details.
Election Watch Kerala demanded that status on filing of Income Tax return and asset growth of candidates should be investigated by appropriate authority and action taken on defaulters.
Keywords: Kerala Assembly elections