Nearly a dozen criminal-turned-politicians, known as bahubalis in local parlance, and their wives, and the widow of a gangster killed in a gang war, are contesting the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar.
Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, a former Lok Sabha member who was acquitted last year in the murder of a CPI-M leader, joined Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in March and is contesting from Madhepura. Pappu Yadav will face incumbent MP and Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav.
Last year, citing lack of evidence, the Patna High Court acquitted Pappu Yadav in a case related to the killing of Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Ajit Sarkar in May 1998.Pappu Yadav won the Lok Sabha polls from Purnia thrice – in 1991, 1996 and 1999 – and once from Madhepura in 2004.
Former union minister Mohammad Taslimuddin, who is facing criminal cases, is contesting as an RJD candidate from Araria.
In fact, the RJD tops the list of candidates with criminal backgrounds. Surender Yadav, contesting from Jehanabad, and Rajballabh Yadav from Nawada are also from the RJD.The BJP has fielded party legislators Nityanand Rai from Ujiyarpur and Satish Chand Dubey from Valmikinagar.
Charges against the two include extortion, kidnapping and murder. Other leaders with criminal backgrounds who are fighting the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar include JD-U’s Manoranjan Kumar Singh alias Dhumal Singh; Manoj Singh, also of the JD-U, from Siwan; Rama Singh of Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party from Vaishali and the RJD’s Prabhunath Singh from Maharajganj.
Half a dozen wives of leaders with a criminal background are also contesting the general elections.
Many of the women as Rama Devi, Lovely Anand, Ranjeet Ranjan, Krishna Yadav, Hina Sahab and Veena Devi are contesting the polls as their husbands have been convicted and sent to jail in the past five years.
Some of them are still in jail and they fielded their wives as the courts barred them from contesting. Rama Devi, BJP candidate from Sheohar, is the widow of Brij Bihari Prasad, a gangster who was killed by his rivals a decade ago.
Last year, an owner of a sugar factory alleged that Rama Devi demanded Rs 5 lakh from him for BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s rally in Patna in October.
Lovely Anand, the wife of former MP Anand Mohan, who is in jail, is contesting from Sheohar as a Samajwadi Party candidate. The RJD fielded Hina Sahab, wife of former parliamentarian Mohammad Shahabuddin, who is also in jail.
Krishna Yadav, the second wife of Ranvir Yadav, is contesting on an RJD ticket from Khagaria, while the LJP has fielded Veena Devi, wife of former MP Suraj Bhan Singh, from Munger. Pappu Yadav’s wife and former MP Ranjita Ranjan is contesting on a Congress ticket from Supaul.