Along with some leaders with criminal record, the recent assembly elections also
saw first time MLAs — who are a PhD from Cambridge, two MBAs, and an M.Sc in
mathematics. They include Abhishek Mishra, who is a PhD, elected from Lucknow on SP ticket;
Karam Thamarjit Singh, who is an MBA, elected from Keirao (Manipur) on MSCP ticket; ond
N.K. Sharma, an M.Sc in Mathematics, elected from Dera Bassi, Punjab, on SAD ticket.
They all have a mission — put their education and experience to serve the people.
By Jeevan Prakash Sharma
A PhD from Cambridge, two MBAs, an M.Sc in mathematics… the recent assembly polls have thrown up a bunch of smart first-time MLAs who want to make a difference.
Karam Thamarjit Singh
Age: 38 years Party: MSCP
MLA from: Keirao (Manipur)
Education: MBA (marketing), Bombay University
Karam Thamarjit Singh’s father is a retired schoolteacher and his mother is a homemaker. Before taking the plunge in politics, Singh was area sales manager with Gillette Inc. (USA) for seven northeast states.
“I was drawing a handsome salary, but since the problem of unemployment in my village was quite disturbing I decided to bring my business education to good use for rural industrialization and employment generation. I quit work and established M/s Kanglei Agro Business Services to help people in the agro business,” says Singh.
Undaunted by two previous assembly poll defeats, Singh says, “I have won now and hope my dream to provide job opportunities to my people will be fulfilled”
Business studies put to good use
The various business aspects I picked up during studies are being practically implemented by me now. I’ve generated job and business opportunities for the unemployed people from my constituencies and helped them establish agro-based small scale industries
Kuljit Singh Nagra
Age: 45 years Party: INC
MLA from: Fatehpur Sahib (Punjab)
Education: LLB from Panjab University, Chandi-garh
His father, a farmer, was completely against the idea when Kuljit Singh Nagra told him he wanted to campaign in the student elections in his college .
It was only “when I gave him the example of Guru Gobind Singh, Bhagat Singh and Mahatma Gandhi, who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the people, that he finally relented and let me campaign as college president,” says Nagra.
While pursuing his graduation from Khalsa College, Chandigarh, Nagra was elected college president twice. When he joined Panjab University for the LLB program, he was elected the university president and later on went on to become a senate member.
“I practiced law in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for three years but it always was my dream to become a politician. Today I take pride in calling myself a first-generation MLA”, says Nagra.
Youth signifies change
I have due respect for politicians of all ages but I believe a young and educated person can play a dynamic role in politics. My education allows me to serve the society and provide legal help to the needy
Age: 34 years
MLA from: Lucknow (North) Party: SP
Educa-tion: PhD in strategy and innovation, University of Cambridge, UK
Abhishek Mishra quit IIM Ahmedabad, where he was teaching strategic management, to join the Samajwadi Party and contest from the Lucknow north constituency in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. This public school boy has studied in St Francis College, Lucknow, St. Joseph’s in Nainital and DPS, R.K. Puram in New Delhi. A PhD from Cambridge University, he says, “Good and highly educated people must come into politics. The legislature is most important as laws are made here for both the judiciary and the executive.”
What got him into politics was the “desire to work at a broader platform and do my bit for society. Mahatma Gandhi and my dad, an IAS officer, have always been my role models. So when I got an opportunity to serve the people of my birthplace, I just couldn’t resist it.”
It’s about holistic development
My research was on growth, productivity and shake-out in the Indian IT industry. Education is not just about getting a job, but about holistic development. You learn to apply different means and methods to solve problems
Age: 40 years
MLA from: Dera Bassi, Punjab Party: SAD
Education: M.Sc in mathematics, Himachal Pradesh University
Narender Kumar Sharma got his bachelor’s degree in science from DAV College, Chandigarh, and after he completed a master’s in mathematics from Himachal University, he was elected sarpanch in 1998 in his village in Zirakpur district.
As a sarpanch, Sharma focused on work with the villagers, assisting them in times of need and earning their blessings. “It was a nice feeling, I dropped the idea of doing anything else and concentrated on politics,” he says.
Solve complex political calculations with math
Mathematics has good use in politics because there are tough calculations here, which someone with a mathematical bent of mind will find easy to solve
Pushkar Singh Dhami
Age: 36 years Party: BJP
MLA from: Khatima (Uttarakhand)
Education: Master’s in HR management and IR, Lucknow University
Pushkar Singh Dhami studied BA (political science) in Lucknow University. “I started taking an interest in student politics and dabbled in it even while doing my LLB and masters ,” he says.
A first-time MLA, Dhami wants “all educated people to think about their localities, cities and states and make a difference there.”
Legal acumen helps in assembly
I believe I can make a meaningful contribution to issues taken up in the assembly. I am aware of the legal and constitutional provisions of my country and that of others
Pramod P. Sawant
Age: 38 years
MLA from: Sanquelim (Goa) Party: BJP
Education: Master’s in social work, Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune.
Though Pramod P. Sawant has been elected MLA for the first time, social work has always been his area of interest. Highs in politics? “When you meet people who root for you and bless you, you feel completely energized and motivated,” says Sawant.
Complex social issues? No problem
Without my masters in social work, I think I wouldn’t have been able to understand the complex social issues. Politics is a tool to solve complex social problems