A perusal of affidavits submitted to the Election Commission (EC) by candidates contesting the assembly polls has revealed that some of them completed their higher studies outside Haryana.
Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate from Ellenabad (Sirsa) Abhay Singh Chautala has done BA from Magadh University, Bihar, while affluent Congress nominee from Karnal Surender Narwal completed LLB from Bundelkhand University, Uttar Pradesh.
In the nomination papers, it is not mentioned if the candidates were regular students or they completed their studies through distance education.
Narwal did MA in 1999 from Bundelkhand University, Jhansi, followed by the law course in 2010. But he never practised law; as per the affidavit, he is a businessman.
Four-time legislator and Haryana Janhit Congress candidate from Gharaunda (Karnal) Jai Singh Rana did Uttama (Sahitya Ratna) in 1997 from Sahitya Sammelan Prayag at Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh). At the time of attaining his highest educational qualification, the prominent Rajput leader was 48.
A number of contestants studied law from Chaudhary Charan Singh University (CCSU) in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh.
Bharatiya Janata Party nominee from Indri (Karnal) Karan Dev Kamboj did MA from Kurukshetra University in 1986 and LLB from Meerut-based CCSU in 1995.
The 42-year-old Congress candidate from Kalayat (Kaithal) Ranvir Singh Mann, son of late Congress leader Tejender Singh Mann, and his brother Brijender Singh Mann, an independent candidate from Assandh, also studied law from the Meerut university in 2011.
Both brothers, New Delhi-based transporters, opted for the UP-based university after studying at Doon School (Dehradun) and Delhi University (DU). But as per their election papers, law is not their profession.
Political observers said a degree in law was fashionable among politicians, adding that candidates preferred to study at institutes where the admission process was easy.
INLD's Ram Pal Majra, seeking to retain the Kalayat seat, also has a degree in law from Meerut, which he got in 2008, 30 years after graduation. As per the election declaration, he is an agriculturist.
Congress candidate from Jhajjar Geeta Bhukkal got her masters degree in political science from Kanpur University. She did law from DU and got a PG diploma in personnel management and industrial relations.
Rohtash Kumar, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate from Thanesar (Kurukshetra), is a PhD from Singhania University, Rajasthan, while Abhe Singh, BJP candidate from Nangal Chaudhary, is a PhD in law from Panjab University, Chandigarh.
A former Delhi University professor and a political commentator, Daulat Ram Chaudhry said several educational institutes of Uttar Pradesh were known for their dubious standards and politicians seemed to make best use of "relaxed" regulations of these universities.
"Getting degrees, particularly of laws, seems to be more of an ornamental value for Haryanvi politicians. Most of them do not practice law and use the degrees as a fashion statement to impress voters. There are several institutes where admissions are made without any competitive exams and they do not follow rules of examinations, attendance, etc., strictly as done by the prestigious institutes in Haryana, Delhi or Chandigarh," said Chaudhry, former chairman of Haryana Public Service Commission.