It is a tale of two women who are trying hard to regain the lost clout of their bahubali (strongman) husbands by winning the upcoming Lok Sabha polls as their substitutes in Bihar.
Heena Shahab and Veena Devi belong to different political parties but they are in the poll fray for similar reasons. Both their husbands have been barred from contesting elections following their conviction in separate murder cases.
Heena is the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) nominee from Siwan, a place where her husband Mohammad Shahabuddin ruled the roost for many years until he was jailed in connection with a number of criminal cases.
The former Siwan MP is currently cooling his heels behind bars after being sentenced to life imprisonment in the 1999 Chhote Lal Gupta kidnapping and killing case. He has also been given 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment in two other cases.
Not the first time
Similarly, Veena Devi’s husband Surajbhan Singh has also been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the 1992 Rami Singh murder case in Begusarai.
Unlike Shahabuddin, Surajbhan is at present out of jail on bail. But, as he can still not contest the polls, he has chosen the next best option-he has fielded his wife from the Munger constituency on a Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) ticket.
Heena and Veena, though, are no strangers to poll battles. In the 2009 general elections, they had contested as ‘dummy candidates’ of their husbands, but neither could clinch a win. While Heena lost to Independent candidate Om Prakash Yadav from Siwan, Veena failed to defeat the BJP’s Bhola Singh in the Nawada seat. Both women are confident about winning their seats despite being up against formidable rivals once again. While Heena faces Yadav, who has now joined the BJP, Veena takes on JD(U)’s former state president Rajiv Ranjan Singh, aka Lalan Singh.
In their heyday, Shahabuddin and Surajbhan held sway in the Siwan and Begusarai- Munger belts with their muscle power and won the parliamentary and Assembly elections almost at will. But they lost their clout after the Nitish Kumar government came to power and set up special courts for speedy trials of long- pending criminal cases in which most of the Bihar’s bahubali politicians were involved.
Heena and Veena, however, are not the only ones to have entered the poll arena as a substitute of their “ineligible” husbands. In fact, former chief minister Rabri Devi, too, is fighting from the Saran seat this time as her husband, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, cannot fight the polls this time due to his conviction in the infamous fodder scam case.
This is the first time when Rabri is fighting a Lok Sabha election.
Another convicted bahubali Anand Mohan’s wife Lovely Anand is set to contest on an SP ticket from Sheohar this time. A former MP, Mohan has been sentenced to life imprisonment in the 1994 Gopalganj DM G. Krishnaiyyah killing case and is at present in jail.
His wife had contested the parliamentary polls on a Congress ticket last time without success.
In contrast, another bahubali Pappu Yadav has bounced back in the poll arena after being absolved of murder charges by the Patna High Court in 2013.
Pappu, who is the RJD candidate from Madhepura, had failed to contest in 2009 after his conviction in the 1998 Ajit Sarkar murder case.
Courtesy: Mail Today