Handpicked by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for the post of the Indian Youth Congress president, much seems to have changed for firebrand Punjab MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, literally.
Hailed as the big slayer who had ended the stranglehold of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal in Gidderbaha in Muktsar district by defeating family rebel and four-time MLA Manpreet Badal, Warring has not just risen through the party ranks but also in his academic degrees.
The Indian Youth Congress president now cites his educational qualification as a graduate in arts. “I did my schooling from Dagshai in Himachal Pradesh and then from Muktsar. Later, I graduated in arts,” Warring told HT. He had also told mediapersons in Delhi the same thing after being appointed the IYC chief. However, in the affidavit submitted by the MLA to the Election Commission on January 11, 2012, he had mentioned his educational qualification as matriculation from the Punjab School Education Board, Mohali, in March 1995.
The information was signed by Warring under the column that required candidates to list their educational qualification, with details of the school, college or university and the year the course was completed. The filing of false affidavits before the EC can invite action against the candidates, including cancellation of their election.
But the IYC president seems nonchalant. “I did not have the graduation certificate with me while filing the nomination papers. Since it was necessary to attach the document with the affidavit and there was no time to procure the certificate, I attached the matriculation certificate,” he contends.
While some politicians have earlier made headlines for “fudging” documents to show a higher educational qualification, Warring’s could well be the first case of its kind of a candidate listing a lower academic qualification. But his political opponents in Muktsar -- he has made quite a few through his meteoric rise -- claim citing a higher educational qualification was the only way Warring could have landed the IYC chief’s post.
“Rahul would not have appointed a matriculate as the IYC chief. So Warring had to pose as a graduate,” a former president of the District Congress Committee, Muktsar, said on condition of anonymity.
In fact, several Punjab MLAs list their educational qualification as under-matric, pre-matric or matric in their nomination papers and in the ‘Who’s Who’ compendium of the Punjab assembly on its members, a fact that corroborates the state’s high school dropout rate.