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 PappuYadav, who is in the fray from Madhepura as a RashtriyaJanata Dal candidate, was acquitted in 2013 in the 1998 murder case of Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader AjitSarkar. He joined the RJD and was rewarded with a LokSabha ticket by party chief Lalu Prasad.
He has been a LokSabha 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 SharadYadav, and BJP’s Vijay Kumar Singh. The seat goes to poll on April 30.
PappuYadav’s wife RanjeetRanjan 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 HeenaShahab 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.
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 SharadYadav in Madhepura as the murder convict Rajput leader still wields considerable influence in the area.