Bihar has dozens of candidates facing serious criminal charges

April 16th, 2009 - 11:31 am ICT by IANS  

Ram Vilas Paswan By Imran Khan
Patna, April 16 (IANS) Dozens of people facing serious criminal charges are in the election fray in Bihar although courts have barred four of them from the Lok Sabha contest.

Known locally as ‘bahubalis’ (very powerful) and feared for their muscle power, some of these politicians are considered close to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad or Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

The candidates facing charges of murder, kidnapping, extortion and loot include Prabhunath Singh, Munna Shukhla, Rama Singh, Surendra Yadav, Jagdish Sharma, Ram Lakhan Singh, Ramanand Yadav, Tarkeshwar Singh, Dadan Pahalwan, Zakir Anwar, Sadhu Yadav, Shamim Akhtar, Fakhruddin, Kaushal Yadav, Rajballabh Yadav, Akhilesh Singh and Narendra Kumar Singh alias Bogo Singh.

The four prevented from contesting are Pappu Yadav, Mohammed Shahabuddin, Surajbhan Singh and Anand Mohan. All of them have been convicted in criminal cases and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The four are among a dozen politicians, including MPs and legislators, who have been convicted and sentenced by fast track courts in Bihar after 2005, thus becoming ineligible to contest. But all four have managed to put up their wives as candidates.

In the outgoing Lok Sabha, Pappu Yadav’s wife Ranjeeta Ranjan is an MP of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). She switched parties Sunday and is now the Congress nominee from Supaul.

While Shahabuddin is in Siwan jail, his wife Heena Sahab is the candidate from Siwan for the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of Lalu Prasad.

Veena Devi, wife of Surajbhan Singh, is the candidate from Nawada for Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP.

Anand Mohan’s wife Lovely Anand has been an MP before. This time, she is the Congress candidate from Sheohar.

Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) is fielding Prabhunath Singh from the Maharajganj constituency and Munna Shukhla from Vaishali.

Prabhunath Singh is the main accused in a double murder case and has around two dozen more criminal cases pending against him. He also faces cases related to assaults on government officials. But he is considered close to Nitish Kumar and JD-U national president Sharad Yadav and also Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in New Delhi.

Munna Shukla, a JD-U legislator, is pitted against central minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh in Vaishali. Shukla was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2007 for the murder of former Gopalganj district magistrate G. Krishnaiyah. He is also an accused in the murder of former minister Brij Bihari Prasad. He faces over a dozen more criminal cases.

Jagdish Sharma, another JD-U legislator, in the fray from Jehanabad, is an accused in the multi-million-rupee fodder scam and faces several criminal cases.

Central minister and RJD candidate from Darbhanga A.A. Fatmi faces serious criminal charges. So does the party’s Kishanganj candidate Mohammad Taslimuddin, another central minister.

The RJD has fielded from Jehanabad Surendra Prasad Yadav, a legislator who faces more than a dozen criminal cases including murder and kidnapping. He is known as Magadh Samrat for his muscle power in the Maoist-affected Magadh division comprising Gaya, Aurangabad, Jehanabad, Nawada and Arwal districts.

From Ara, the LJP has fielded Rama Singh, who faces over a dozen criminal charges including murder and extortion and is wanted by police of neighbouring states.

The LJP candidate from Araria is Zakir Anwar, who faces several criminal cases.

In West Champaran, the Congress has fielded Sadhu Yadav, brother-in-law of Lalu Prasad, after he quit the RJD. He faces over a dozen criminal charges including murder, kidnapping, rape and extortion. He is also an accused in the Bihar flood scam.

Other Congress candidates with criminal background are Tarkeshwar Singh (Maharajganj) and Shamim Akhtar (Valmikinagar). Each faces over a dozen criminal charges.

Even the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) is not free of the taint. It has fielded its former legislator Mahboob Alam from Katihar. Alam faces over a dozen criminal charges and absconded for a decade before being arrested a few years ago.

There are nearly a dozen independent contestants who face criminal charges. The Nawada constituency has three - Kaushal Yadav, Rajballabh Yadav and Akhilesh Singh.

Others include Ramanand Yadav, who is lodged in jail, contesting from Khagaria; Dadan Pahalwan from Buxar; Fakhruddin from Vamikinagar; and Narendra Kumar Singh alias Bogo Singh from Begusarai.

All of them sought tickets from JD-U, RJD, LJP or Congress.

Bihar goes to the polls in four phases - April 16, 23 and 30 and May 7.

(Imran Khan can be contacted at imran.k@ians.in)

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