Almost half of the candidates contesting in the upcoming Telangana elections have not studied beyond junior college, according to a study of affidavits submitted by the candidates to Election Commission.
Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), which works for transparency in electoral politics, has analysed 1,777 independent and political party candidates out of 1,821 in fray. As many as 48 people who filed their nominations are illiterate.
The report, which was released on Monday, also revealed that 94 candidates have studied only till class V and 77 others till class VIII, 362 candidates have passed class X and 266 candidates have class XII certificates.
There are a few who are exceptionally qualified too. The number of doctoral degree holders stands at 34.
Out of 1777 candidates analysed, 368 had declared criminal cases against themselves. Among these,13 per cent have declared serious criminal cases. Around six candidates have declared that they have been booked in cases related to murder under Indian Penal Code Section 302.
Party-wise, Congress leads with 45 per cent of its candidates facing serious criminal cases followed by TRS with 37 per cent and BJP with 22 per cent. Topping the list is Babu Rao Soyam of Congress contesting from Boath constituency, who has 55 serious charges against him under IPC. He is followed by controversial BJP leader and former MLA of Goshamahal T. Raja Singh, and Athram Sakku of Congress from Asifabad. Among the top ten candidates is caretaker Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao and his opponent Vanteru Pratap Reddy of Congress.
There seems to be no dearth of crorepatis fighting elections this time. Ninety per cent of the TRS candidates are crorepatis, followed by the Congress (80 per cent) and the BJP (73 per cent).
Congressman Komatireddy Raj Gopal Reddy is the richest candidate with declared assets worth Rs 314 crore, followed by Sunil Kumar of BSP with Rs 182 crore and Marri Janardhan Reddy of TRS with Rs 161 crore. Surprisingly, there are 58 candidates, from little-known political parties or contesting as independents, who have declared zero assets.