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AAJ KA MLA Farmers are House lords, professionals way behind

October 19, 2019 05:27 AM



Data compiled by the state legislature secretariat on legislators elected in the last two and half decades shows that politics overwhelmingly remains the domain of the middle-aged and grey-haired, and the largest cohort of representatives quoted agriculture as their vocation.

From 1995 to 2014, there were less than 10 legislators between 26 and 30 years, while the biggest group was between 51 and 55 (see box). In the last House too, there were only four from the young band and 60 in the older group.

Political analyst Abhinandan Thorat and social worker Vishwambhar Choudhary, associated with the anti-corruption movement, expressed concern over the reluctance of the younger generation to join politics. “The younger generation is not interested in politics and social work, they are not keen on politics as career. Devendra Fadnavis and Nitin Gadkari are exceptions, honest people cannot make money in politics,” said Thorat.

Choudhary highlighted another angle. He said the younger generation is reluctant to take up politics since most of the space has been occupied by the sons and daughters of leading politicians. “Once a person is elected for two to three consecutive terms, he/she is followed by his son or daughter. As a result, there is no scope for an outsider,” he said.

The education standard of MLAs has been improving with the number of graduates and post-graduates outstripping those who have studied till Class X or XII. In 1995, 132 legislators were graduates; the number rose to 141 in 2014. Between 1995 and 2014, 28-40 postgraduates were elected.

So far as the profession of elected representatives is concerned, between 1995 to 2014, on an average, 120 were agriculturists and 66 to 75 were in business and trade. In 2014, the legislature secretariat introduced a category for developers, and 13 legislators submitted that they were in the construction industry. In an encouraging sign, increasing numbers of professionals are plunging into politics. In the last 19 years, 10 to 20 MLAs were teachers, four to six were doctors, 16 to 20 were in the medical profession, and two to 10 were engineers.

Legislature secretariat information and research officer B B Waghmare said it is a welcome trend. “I’ve been associated with the legislature secretariat for more than three decades, and have seen that Maharashtra has had some of the best and most talented legislators. I have seen leaders like Narayan Rane, Ajit Pawar, Devendra Fadnavis, Dilip Walse Patil spending hours in the library, studying speeches of veteran legislators. Now they secure the maximum information electronically,” said Waghmare.

But political analyst Thorat said the people of Maharashtra are now missing well studied speeches of legislators in the assembly. “We are missing good debates on the floor of the House, issues are not being taken to their logical end,” he said.

Activist Choudhury rued that mentoring eligible people for public life is shrinking with dynasty politics on the rise. Politicians like Sharad Pawar and Shankarrao Chavan were instrumental in bringing honest and efficient persons in politics. “Pawar introduced R R Patil, while Chavan was instrumental in introducing senior bureaucrat Raibhan Jadhav and Shrikant Jichkar in politics. That process has ended, politicians are concentrating on urban areas, and have less grassroots connect,” he said

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