Political ambitions force elderly men to appear for class VIII exams

Political ambitions force elderly men to appear for class VIII exams

Andaram Jat, 82, appears for the class VIII examination at the Kota Open University in Barmer.

In politics, age is just a number and ambitions can make a man do anything. Andaram Jat, 82, has epitomised the old adages by appearing for the Class VIII examination just to reclaim the post of sarpanch in Panchayat elections.

Andaram was not the only candidate, there were many others, who were appearing for the exam along with the kids of their great-grandchildren age, just to fulfil their political ambitions. The exam was conducted by Kota Open University.

Dressed in a traditional dhoti and turban, Andaram, a resident of Sevniyala village in Barmer, worked hard to prepare for class VIII examination. He wrote the exams at Government PG College, Barmer, with an aim to contest rural elections and to reclaim his post of sarpanch.

“I was a village Sarpanch for three consecutive terms, but last time I was unable to contest the panchayat elections due to the 2014 amendment which made class VIII compulsory,” Andaram told DH. 

Through a law in 2014, the Vasundhara Raje government made it mandatory for the candidates contesting the panchayat elections to have a certain level of education, which in turn has compelled many to knock the doors of schools.

According to the rule, a candidate contesting for the Zila Parishad or Panchayat Samiti seat is required to have passed at least Class X and one contesting for the sarpanch seat is required to have cleared at least Class VIII.

Since the law came into existence, the candidature of many aspiring politicians were cancelled, who had contested the previous panchayat elections without the requisite educational qualification.

Moreover, many presented fake mark-sheets but their candidature was also challenged by their opponents, resulting in their disqualification followed by legal punishments.

According to Pancharam Choudhary, principal of Government PG College, there is a rise in a number of elderly candidates appearing for the examination.

“The increase in the number of elderly candidates appearing for class VIII exams is suggestive of their eligibility for the next panchayat elections,” he said.

While men are eyeing at the post of sarpanch the elderly village women appearing for the exams are hoping to get selected as ASHA worker or a job at the nearest Aganwadi.