More than half of the winning candidates in the recent elections to the 117-member Punjab Assembly are aged between 25 and 50 years, which include the AAP leader and Chief Minister-designate, Bhagwant Singh Mann, 48.
The youngest member of the 16th Punjab Assembly is 27-year-old Narinder Kaur Bharaj, who completed her LLB from Bhai Gurdas College of Law (under Punjabi University) in Sangrur. An AAP candidate, Narinder defeated incumbent Congress legislator and erstwhile minister Vijay Inder Singh Singla by a margin of 36,430 votes.
According to the affidavits filed as part of their nomination papers by the candidates before the Election Commission, there are 61 newly-elected legislators (52%) aged between 25 and 50 years, and 56 (48%) above 50 years. In the previous Assembly constituted in 2017, 52% MLAs were over 50 years old while 48% were aged 50 and below.
There are two 30-year-old MLAs from the AAP in the new House, including Amolak Singh, who won from Jaitu in Faridkot by a margin of 32,789 votes, and Narinder Pal Singh Shawna, who won from Fazilka by 27,720 votes.
According to the candidates’ affidavits, 3 new MLAs (2.54%) are in the age bracket of 25 to 30 years, 21 (17.94%) 31 to 40 years, 37 (31.62%) 41 to 50 years, 16 (13.67%) 51 to 55 years, 17 (14.52%) 56 to 60 years, and 21 ( 17.94%) 61 to 69 years.
There are just two (1.70%) MLAs who are aged above 70 years. The oldest legislator is Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, 78-year-old incumbent Congress MLA, who again won from his Fatehgarh Churian seat in Gurdaspur district of Majha region. He was one of the three rebel Congress MLAs from the region, dubbed as the “Majha brigade”, who had first raised the banner of revolt against then CM Captain Amarinder Singh.
Another septuagenarian legislator is the BJP’s Jaggi Lal Mahajan, 74, who won from Mukerian constituency in Hoshiarpur district.
Out of 117 MLAs, 13 (11%) are women, including 11 from the AAP, which swept the polls bagging 92 seats. Nine of the AAP women legislators are in the age group of 50 years and below.
The number of women legislators in the Punjab Assembly in 2017 was just 6 (5%).
In the new Assembly, out of the winning candidates 45 (38%) have declared their educational qualification to be between 5th pass and 12th pass, 67 (57%) have degrees of graduation and above, while 5 are diploma holders, according to Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Punjab Election Watch. One candidate is 5th pass, three are 8th pass, 17 10th pass, 24 12th pass, 21 graduates and 21 post-graduates.
Twelve newly-elected members of the Assembly are doctors while 9 have other professional degrees like law and engineering, etc. Two MLAs have doctorate degrees.
Of 13 women MLAs, 11 (85%) have completed their graduation, post-graduation and professional degrees.
The AAP candidate and noted social activist, Jeevan Jyot Kaur, 50, who won from the high-profile Amritsar East seat after defeating the Congress’s Navjot Singh Sidhu and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)’s Bikram Singh Majithia, has an LLB degree. The party’s Dr Baljit Kaur, 46, who won from Malout seat in Mukatsar Sahib district, is MS Ophthalmology. Another AAP nominee, Dr Amandeep Kaur Arora, 39, who won from Moga, is also a doctor.
The winning candidate from Talwandi Sabo constituency in Bathinda district, Prof Baljinder Kaur, 37, completed her MPhil degree from Punjabi University, Patiala. Saravjit Kaur Manuke, 49, who won from Jagraon seat in Ludhiana, has done her MA in Economics.
Among other AAP women MLAs, Rajinder Pal Kaur from Ludhiana East constituency, social activist Inderjit Kaur from Nakodar, and Neena Mittal from Rajpura seat are graduates, Santosh Kataria from Balachaur has an ITI degree, while Anmol Gagan Mann (31) is the 12th pass.
The Congress’s Aruna Chaudhry, who won from Dina Nagar, has BA and BEd degrees. The SAD MLA from Majithia, Ganieve Kaur is also a graduate.