For a state seeking to erase the taint of corruption and
lawlessness, this sure is a step backwards. Bihar, which goes to
polls beginning Oct 21, will see a host of top politicians
campaigning for candidates with criminal records.
Elections to the 243-seat state assembly will be held in six
phases, from Oct 21 to Nov 20, with results being declared Nov 24.
While political parties are preparing various strategies to lure
voters, one common thread which unites them is the long list of
candidates with criminal pasts.
Both regional parties and national parties have lined-up their
stars to canvass for votes.
The lineup features chief minister Nitish Kumar, deputy chief
minister Sushil Kumar Modi, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) national
president Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu
Prasad and his alliance partner Ram Vilas Paswan of Lok Janshakti
Among the national parties, politicians who will be in the state
to campaign include Congress president Sonia Gandhi and general
secretary Rahul Gandhi, as well as Bharatiya Janata Party's
leaders like party president Nitin Gadkari, L.K. Advani and Arun
Nitish Kumar, who is not only the star campaigner for his party
JD-U but also the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), is seeking
votes for criminal-turned-politicians like Sarfaraz Alam, Neeraj
Kumar Singh and Bucchan Yadav .
The charges against the trio include extortion, kidnapping, and
Alam, son of the controversial former central minister Mohammad
Taslimuddin, is the JD-U candidate from Jokihat constituency.
Singh is party candidate from Chatapur while Yadav is contesting
from Bihariganj, which goes to polls Oct 21.
Nitish Kumar is also campaigning for Lesi Singh, wife of slain
ganglord Butan Singh, who is contesting from Dhamdaha
constituency. Lesi Singh is a former legislator and former
chairperson of Bihar Women's Commission.
Other tainted JD-U candidates include Bima Bharti, wife of
gangster Awadesh Mandal (Rupauli constituency), Punam Devi, wife
of criminal-turned-politician Ranvir Yadav (Khagaria constituency)
and Annu Shukla (Lalganj constituency), wife of JD-U legislator
Munna Shukla, who is currently in jail for the murder of former
Bihar minister Brijbihari Prasad.
Nitish Kumar has exposed his double-face, says Communist Party of
India-Marxist youth leader Gopal Prasad Sharma. "Nitish will
campaign for many such candidates from his party," Sharma told
These include Manoranjan Singh alias Dhumal Singh, Sunil Pandey,
and Anant Singh, regarded to be close to the chief minister.
Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP is campaigning for Damyanti Devi,
wife of gangster Bhagir Yadav, in Narpatganj constituency.
He will also seek votes for criminal-turned-politician Nityanand
Rai and Chitranjan Kumar, a former member from Pandav Sena, a
private upper-caste militia.
Lalu and Paswan, who have formed a coalition, will canvass for
candidates like Shankar Singh, Dilip Yadav, and Surendra Yadav,
all with criminal records.
Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, who will campaign for all the six
phases, will campaign for candidates like Lovely Anand, wife of
criminal-turned-politician Anand Mohan, and Ranjeet Ranjan, wife
of former MP Rajiv Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, sentenced to life
imprisonment for the murder of Communist Party of India-Marxist
leader Ajit Sarkar.
"Rahul Gandhi is coming Thursday and Sonia Gandhi will campaign
Oct 18," a Congress leader said.
The list of tainted candidates who will see their party bosses
canvassing for them is exhaustive.
According to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)
and National Election Watch (NEW), a group of more than 1,200
NGOs, as many as 154 candidates in the first round of polls are
facing criminal charges.
Out of these, 97 have cases of murder, attempt to murder,
kidnapping, extortion, causing hurt by dangerous weapons and
dacoity against them, the report said.