Money and gun power have failed to influence the voters in Bihar, where perhaps for the first time all the musclemen bit the dust, irrespective of their party, in the just concluded Lok Sabha polls.
The results came as a surprise for the majority of those who contested the polls with money and muscle power, either as independents or with the help of pseudo-candidates in the state.
Lok Janshakti Party legislator Surajbhan, who was barred from contesting the elections by the Election Commission following his conviction in a murder case, had fielded his wife Veena Devi from Navada constituency.
"But the glamour of gun has failed to attract voters this time as they want development," said Bharatiya Janata Party's Bhola Singh, who defeated Veena Devi.
"The politics of crime which has been glamourised in the past few years in the state has always been short-lived and unstable. They come in politics without the spirit of public service. This time people got the courage and eliminated them with the power of the ballot," Singh said. Singh, however, gave credit for the people's courage to the Nitish Kumar-led government in the state.
"The chief minister himself made all the efforts to woo voters in every constituency. Clearing 45,000 pending criminal cases since 2005 and conviction of 10,000 criminals through fast-track courts in the state have contributed a lot in shaping voters' judgement in these polls," Singh said.
Jailed Rashtriya Janata Dal Member of Parliament Mohammad Shahabuddin's wife Heena Saheb lost in Siwan to Om Prakash Yadav, an independent, while Pappu Yadav's mother Shanti Priya, who fought from Purnia seat as an independent with Congress support, lost to Uday Singh of the BJP. Yadav's wife Ranjeeta Ranjan, who entered into the fray from Supaul, met with a similar fate, loosing to JDU's Vishwa Mohan Kumar.
"Gone are the days when people used to get votes with the help of money and gun power. They have failed to influence voters this time. Common men have now got their real strength. They will never choose leaders with tainted track records," Monazir Hasan, who defeated Narendra Singh, alias Bogo Singh in Begusarai, a stronghold of upper caste musclemen, said. JD-U's Jagdish Sharma, who won from Jahanabad constituency, a bastion of the outlawed Maoist Communist Centre, claimed that the residents of Bihar have for the first time elected their representative without being influenced by money, muscle or any type of glamourous politics.
"This is for the first time that elections have been fought in the name of development. Anti-social elements, which never had popular mandate, have lost their foothold in the state," Sharma said. Sharma defeated RJD candidate Surendra Yadav in Jahanabad.
Congress nominee Lovely Anand, wife of former JD-U MP Anand Mohan, who was also barred by the Election Commission from contesting the polls, was defeated by BJP's Rama Devi in Sheohar constituency. Besides, RJD chief Lalu Prasad's brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav, Munna Shukla and Prabhunath Singh were also among those who lost the elections.