Mrs Bahubalis in poll fray in Bihar

Mrs Bahubalis in poll fray in Bihar

Jan Adhikar Party chief and party candidate from Madhepura Lok Sabha Constituency Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav during a campaign, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, in Madhepur. PTI file photo

Guns and goons had been sort of an integral part of politics and the rise of  Bahubalis in Bihar’s political landscape, in particular, has been a dominant theme of many a Bollywood biopics as musclemen politicians like Mohammad Shahabuddin, Anand Mohan Singh, Anant Singh, Pappu Yadav and Surajbham rose to fame or infamy.

Times changed and many of them got convicted while some preferred to operate from behind the screen.  While a few still choose contest, most preferred the safer route---to rule by proxies.

Resultantly, Bihar now has a new breed of politicians—kins of Bahubalis---in most cases their wives and in some brothers (bahu and bhai of Bahubalis)

2019 Lok Sabha polls is no different and the trend cuts across party lines.

So if Surajbhan’s brother Chandan Singh was fielded by NDA ally LJP from Nawada Parliamentary seat that went to polls on April 11, the Opposition grand alliance also chose to field under the banner of RJD Vibha Devi, the wife of another Bahubali Rajballabh Prasad Yadav, who is in jail in a rape case. Yadav was earlier expelled from RJD.

Even in 2009 Surajbhan’s wife Veena Devi had contested the seat from LJP while in 2014 Rajballav had contested the seat in 2014. None could win it though.

Jailed notorious Babhubali from Siwan Mohammad Shahabuddin’s wife Hina Shahab is RJD candidate from Siwan Parliamentary seat that is going to polls on May 12.

To take on her, JDU has fielded an MLA Kavita Singh, who is the wife of another Bahubali Ajay Singh. This is the third time Heena is contesting from the seat, which was her husband’s pocket borough. Shahabuddin had won Siwan Parliamentary seat for four times in past. His wife, however, lost the seat both times.

Congress has fielded dreaded Anant Singh’s wife Neelam Devi from Munger. Neelam Devi had extensively campaigned in 2015 Bihar assembly polls for her jailed husband, who is known in Munger as “Chhote Sarkar” and has got media eyeballs for his dressing habits and his horse riding fad.

In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the seat was won by Bahubali Soorajbhan’s wife Veena Devi. This time three-term MLA from Munger Ananth Singh, who had won the last assembly polls from behind the bars, wanted to contest Lok Sabha polls. Congress was uncomfortable and Lalu vociferously opposed. As a compromise candidate,  his wife was fielded.

In Nawada while Chandan and Vibha Devi are fighting the polls, the contest is actually between Soorajbhan and Rajballabh Yadav, who represent two streams of musclemen politics that draws its strength from the caste politics of the state.

Singh belongs to dominant upper caste Bhumihar while Rajballabh represents Yadav muscles. The upper caste versus OBC rivalry of Bihar is so very prominent when it comes to the war of attrition between Bahubalis of Bihar.

In Jehanabad Parliamentary seat, RJD has fielded its tested and tried Bahubali turned politician Surendra Yadav, MLA from Belganj and his chances to win are stated to be bright.

The state, which had seen formation of caste armies like Ranveer Sena and Sunlight Sena, the upper caste militia to take on growing footprints of Maoists, later also saw the formation of a number of armed caste armies at local levels in many districts as a result of fierce caste rivalries between upper caste and OBCs

Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, who formed Yuva Shakti had won Lok Sabha elections in 1991, 1996, 1999, 2004 and 2014 from several constituencies in Bihar. He and his wife both are in politics. While Pappu Yadav is contesting from Madhepura, his wife Ranjeeta Ranjan is contesting from Supaul. Both are already Lok Sabha MPs.

Pappu, who was alleged have helped Purulia Arms Drop case prime accused Kim Davy’s safe exit from India, had to spend 14 years in jail in the murder of CPI(M) leader Ajit Sarkar before he was exonerated from all charges.

Lovely Anand, wife of Jailed don-turned-politician Anand Mohan Singh, who was convicted in 1994 murder of Gopalganj district magistrate G Krishnaiah, joined Congress in January this year and wanted to contest from Sheohar.

Many other strongmen were also keen to contest 2019 Lok Sabha elections including former Vaishali MP Rama Singh, Sunil Pandey, Munna Shukla and Rajan Tiwari. Rama Singh wants to contest from Sheohar, Rajan Tiwari from West Champaran and Sunil Pandey from Arah Parliamentary seat. Their wish could not be accommodated.