» Election » Courts dashed poll dreams of Bihar's dreaded Bahubalis

Courts dashed poll dreams of Bihar's dreaded Bahubalis

By Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna
April 04, 2009 16:58 IST
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It is for the first time that four of Bihar's bahubalis, the dreaded criminal-turned-politicians, Mohammad Shahabuddin, Rajiv Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, Suraj Singh alias Surajbhan Singh and Anand Mohan are not contesting the Lok Sabha election after the courts disallowed them to do so.

All the four are convicted and sentenced from life imprisonment to 10 years imprisonment in criminal cases.

Rashtriya Janata Dal's sitting Members of Parliament Pappu Yadav from Madhepura and Shahabuddin from Siwan, Lok Janshakti Party MP Surajbhan Singh and former Janata Dal-United MP Anand Mohan, who have contested for over a decade, are not in the poll fray this time. It was made possible only after the courts turned down their plea to suspend conviction in criminal cases, so that they could contest the coming Lok Sabha election.

Due to the speedy trials by the fast track courts, more than 30,000 criminals were convicted in Bihar after 2005, which included a dozen Bahubalis.

"This never happened before that four of them were not in the election fray. It is a rare but a positive beginning," Satyanarayan Madan, a political activist said.

Madan is not alone, most of the people in the state, ranging from the commoner on the streets to the elite in their drawing rooms -- see this as a positive development for Bihar.

"It is a right thing that criminal-turned-politicians like Shahabuddin, Pappu Yadav, Surajbhan and Anand Mohan are kept away from contesting elections, it will send a strong message," Mumtaz Ansari, a government official told in Patna.

Interestingly, these Bahubalis, who used to be a terror in their respective strongholds, appeared helpless following the courts' order. They simply accepted the judgement, as they had no other alternative.

The hurdle in their way to the Lok Sabha is Section 8 (3) of the Representation of the People Act of 1951 that stipulates that any person convicted for a crime and sentenced to more than two years of jail term cannot contest elections till six years after the completion of the sentence.

The Patna high court on Thursday rejected Pappu Yadav's plea to suspend his conviction in a criminal case so that he could contest the coming Lok Sabha election. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a lower court for allegedly murdering Communist Party of India-Marxist legislator Ajit Sarkar in 1998. Yadav, the sitting MP from Madhepura, is currently out on bail.

Last month, Shahabuddin's election hopes were similarly dashed by the Patna high court which dismissed his plea to suspend his conviction.

In the last Lok Sabha elections, Shahabuddin and Pappu Yadav contested from behind the bars. While Surajbhan Singh was out on bail and contested the elections from Balia seat.

Shahabuddin's name was struck off the voters list in 2005 after a non-bailable warrant of arrest was issued against him following a raid on his house at Pratappur in Siwan district on April 24, 2005.

The then district magistrate of Siwan C K Anil had also issued an order for his externment from the district.

Last year Anand Mohan too was convicted and awarded death penalty for inciting a mob that lynched to death Gopalganj district magistrate G Krishnaiyah in 1994. He is lodged in jail.

Surajbhan Singh, MP from Balia in Bihar, was sentenced to life last year for murder of a farmer in 1992. Currently he is out on bail.

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Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna