Even as the Election Commission tries its best to clean up the electoral system, the reality remains that contesting elections involve a lot of money and manpower. With winnnability being the main criteria, all parties give probity a go bye and go for candidates who are not only flush with funds but can be useful when the need for some muscle power arises. Many of the candidates also face criminal charges some of which are heinous in nature.
In Bihar, too, the trend is no different and several constituencies have criminal-turned-politicians, also known as ‘bahubalis’, contesting elections. Some criminals who are unable to contest following the historic Supreme Court verdict barring convicted people from fighting elections have either put up their wives or some other close relatives in the race.
One of the more famous ‘bahubalis’ contesting elections in Bihar is Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, who is in the fray from Madhepura as a Rashtriya Janata Dal candidate, was acquitted in 2013 in the 1998 murder case of Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Ajit Sarkar. He joined the RJD and was rewarded with a Lok Sabha ticket by party chief Lalu Prasad.
He has been a Lok Sabha MP four times – in 1991, 1996 and 1999 from Purnea and in 2004 from Madhepura where he faces Janata Dal United supremo and sitting MP Sharad Yadav, and BJP’s Vijay Kumar Singh. The seat goes to poll on April 30.
Pappu Yadav’s wife Ranjeet Ranjan is a Congress candidate from the nearby Supaul seat where voting got over on April 24.
Another dreaded name is that of former RJD MP Mohammed Shahabuddin from Siwan. Just a decade back his name was the law in the area but after his conviction and life term in a murder case, his wife Heena Shahab has been trying to keep his political legacy alive.
When he himself was politically active, neither would his opponents put up their posters and banners in his areas nor campaign aggressively. RJD has once again put up Shahab from Siwan even though she had lost the 2009 elections.
Accused of even having links with Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, Shahabuddin is perhaps the perfect example of what Lalu’s rivals called the “jungle raj” when RJD ruled Bihar.
RJD’s Prabhunath Singh, trying to defend his fortress in Maharajganj, is another politician who is known for his strong arm tactics. He faces another bahubali Manoranjan Singh alias Dhumal Singh of the JDU.
Mohammad Taslimuddin, a former union minister, is also one of those who have a long list of criminal charges against their name. The fate of Taslimuddin, RJD’s Araria candidate, was sealed in the EVMs on April 24.
Two more RJD leaders – Jehanabad candidate Surender Yadav and Nawada nominee Rajballabh Yadav – are also accused in many criminal cases while Krishna Yadav, the second wife of strongman Ranvir Yadav, is the RJD candidate from Khagaria.
A former MLA, Ranvir Yadav is also married to Krishna’s sister Poonam Yadav, who is a JDU MLA but has now been suspended by the party for campaigning for her sister. Convicted in a 1985 massacre in which nine people were killed, Ranvir once again was in the news for the wrong reason when he allegedly snatched a Bihar Police personnel’s carbine and threatened to shoot a group of teachers in Khagaria who had surrounded Nitish Kumar and were protesting against him.
Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party has been claiming that it will provide a clean government, it too has fielded several names with dubious record.
BJP MLA Nityanand Rai contesting from Ujiyarpur and his colleague Satish Chand Dubey from Valmikinagar are also known for their strong arm tactics. Both have been accused in murder, kidnapping and extortion cases.
The party has once again given Rama Devi, the sitting MP from Sheohar, a ticket. Rama Devi’s husband was the dreaded gangster Brij Bihari Prasad, who was killed several years ago. Even Rama Devi was accused by a sugar factory owner of trying to extort money from him for Narendra Modi’s Hunkaar Rally in Patna on October 27.
Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party, which has tied up with the BJP, also has a long list of candidates with tainted past. One of the LJP leaders and former MP Suraj Bhan Singh has been convicted in a murder case and is barred from contesting elections. So he has got the party to nominate his wife Veena Devi from Munger even though she had lost in 2009.
LJP’s Vaishali candidate Rama Kishore Singh alias Rama Singh is another name which comes under the category of ‘bahubalis’. A few days ago a dreaded gangster alleged that Singh has taken an AK-47 assault rifle from him. The gangster Shanker Dayal Singh, an Army deserter, was arrested at Maner in a major police operation and later confessed that he enjoyed the LJP leader’s political patronage.
Rama Singh is pitted against RJD sitting MP Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and rebel JDU MLA Annu Shukla, who is the wife of strongman and former MLA Vijay Kumar Shukla alias Munna Shukla. He has been convicted and jailed for life for killing his rival Brij Bihari Prasad.
Despite Nitish Kumar’s claims of “sushashan” (clean governance) the JDU, too, has its share of tainted candidates. Apart from Manoranjan Singh alias Dhumal Singh, who is contesting from Maharajganj, the party has also given the ticket to Manoj Singh from Siwan Former MP Anand Mohan Singh, serving a life term in the murder case of Gopalganj DM G Krishnaiah, has got a Samajwadi Party ticket for his wife Lovely Anand. JDU has also sought Anand Mohan Singh’s help for Sharad Yadav in Madhepura as the murder convict Rajput leader still wields considerable influence in the area.
Courtesy: IBN Live