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Bihar: Bahubalis put up spouses for polls

By Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna
March 25, 2009 20:19 IST
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Veena Devi, Hina Sahab and Ranjeet Ranjan, three Lok Sabha contestants from Bihar, share one thing common -- they are the wives of Bihar's bahubalis, criminal-turned-politicians, infamous for their muscle power.

Some of Bihar's well known bahubalis, who have been convicted and punished in the last three years, are not contesting the Lok Sabha elections after the courts disallowed them to do so, have fielded their wives instead.

Rashtriya Janata Dal's Members of Parliament Rajiv Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav and Mohammad Shahabuddin, Lok Janshakti Party MP Suraj Singh alias Surajbhan Singh and former Janata Dal-United MP Anand Mohan, all convicted and sentenced, are ready to take the easier route of dynastic politics; to play their new inning by proxy.

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

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

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.

Shahabuddin's wife Heena Sahab has replaced him in Siwan parliamentary seat this time as the RJD candidate. Similarly Surajbhan Singh's wife Veena Devi is contesting in his place from Nawada parliamentary seat as the LJP candidate.

Pappu Yadav's wife Ranjit Ranjan is re-nominated from Supaul seat as the LJP candidate. Yadav's father Chandradeo Prasad Yadav is likely to contest from Madhepura seat in place of him as the RJD candidate. RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav has yet to announce his candidature from the Madhepura constituency.

It seems that the RJD nominated Hina Sahab because the party had a compulsion -- not to ignore Shahabuddin's big clout and muscle power that he still enjoys from behind the bars.

Pappu Yadav, currently on bail was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Ajit Sarkar. Yadav was lodged in the Tihar jail in New Delhi and was released earlier this month.

Shahabuddin, who is lodged in the Siwan jail, was convicted in seven criminal cases, with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. In a setback to Shahabuddin ahead of the parliamentary elections, the electoral registration officer in Siwan district has turned down the request for inclusion of him name in the voters' list on the ground that he has been in jail for more than six months.

Shahabuddin had petitioned the electoral registration officer for including his name in the voters list last year.

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.

Shahabuddin's election hopes, was finally dashed on Tuesday, when the Patna high court dismissed his plea to suspend his conviction in a criminal case to make way for him contesting the Lok Sabha election.

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

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