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Accused of murder, rape, extortion — 11 dons & wives fighting Bihar polls from RJD & JD(U)

At least 11 dons or their wives have been handed tickets for the first phase of polls to be held on 28 October. A majority of them have bagged RJD or JD(U) nominations.

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New Delhi: With the nomination process having ended for the first phase of the Bihar assembly elections, a facet of polls in these parts has made a reappearance — the presence of dons or strongmen in the electoral fray.

At least 11 dons or their wives have been handed tickets for the first phase of polls to be held in 72 of the 243 constituencies on 28 October. A majority of them have bagged RJD or JD(U) nominations with the BJP and Congress largely shying away from fielding such candidates.

They include the jailed Anant Singh, accused of seven murders, Sunil Pandey, who was once investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the notorious gangster Reet Lal Yadav.

D.M. Diwakar of the Patna-based A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies told ThePrint that political parties turn to these strongmen as they hold considerable sway in their areas.

“These dons hold influence in their areas as few of them do a lot of social service like conducting mass marriages. They are like the modern-day Robin Hoods,” Diwakar said. “Every political party takes their help in winning seats.”

ThePrint profiles some of the prominent dons in the poll fray.

Also read: LJP affiliates want Chirag Paswan in Modi cabinet after dad’s death, BJP says it’s PM’s call

Anant Singh alias Chotte Sarkar

Popularly known as Chotte Sarkar in his constituency, Anant Singh is the RJD candidate from the Mokama seat even though he is in jail on charges of possessing an AK 47 and explosives at his home. Singh has 38 criminal charges against him, which include seven for murder and others ranging from kidnapping to attempt to murder.

Singh was once a favourite of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and has fought four elections on a JD(U) ticket. The duo, however, fell out after the 2015 assembly elections. At the time, the JD(U) had tied up with the RJD, which had made Singh’s alleged murder of an Yadav youth in that year a poll issue.

When the two parties formed the government, Singh was arrested for the murder but secured bail in the case. Ironically, the don is now contesting on an RJD ticket.

His wife Neelam Devi had also filed nominations as an Independent in the seat, with sources saying this was a fall back option in case his nomination was rejected.

Devi had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls on a RJD ticket but lost to the JD(U)’s Lalan Singh.

Surendra Yadav

Surendra Yadav is another don who is known as ‘Magadh Samrat ‘in his area. He is a strongman in the Maoist-affected areas of Gaya and Aurangabad. He is contesting on a RJD ticket from the Belaganj seat in Gaya.

Sunil Pandey

A four-time MLA of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Sunil Pandey is fighting as an Independent from the Tarari constituency in Bhojpur district. Pandey was once accused of the murder of dreaded Ranvir Sena chief Brahmeshwar Mukhiya in 2012. He was also arrested for murder of dreaded UP don Mukhtar Ansari. The NIA has also investigated him for allegedly possessing an AK 47.

Pandey has been forced to fight as an Independent as the BJP has fielded a candidate at Tarari — the LJP has vowed not to fight against the BJP in these elections.

Reet Lal Yadav

A notorious gangster and MLC, Yadav was only recently released from jail. He is the RJD candidate from the Danapur assembly segment. He has been accused of land grabbing, extortion and attempt to murder, among others, but is considered so influential that Lalu Prasad Yadav once visited him in jail to ensure victory of Misa Bharti in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Pataliputra. For the record, she lost.

Amrendra Pandey

Amrendra Pandey alias Pappu Pandey is the sitting JD(U) MLA from Gopalganj. He has retained his ticket. Pandey is an accused in the Gopalganj triple murder case in which the parents and brother of a local RJD leader were killed.

Veena Singh, wife of Rama Singh

The RJD has fielded Veena Singh at the Mahnar seat in Vaishali district. She is the wife of strongman Rama Singh, a former MP who has a series of charges against him, ranging from murder to kidnapping. He joined the RJD last week.

Singh absconded for 11 years in the case of the abduction of a petrol bunk owner and had only surrendered in 2016. He is out on bail in the case.

Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh had opposed Rama Singh’s entry into the party right until he passed away last month. Raghuvansh had lost to Rama Singh, then with the LJP, in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

The LJP denied Rama Singh a ticket in 2019 but he has influence in the neighbouring Raghopur constituency, where Tejashwi Yadav will contest.

Also read: The real Bihar election will begin after the results

Vibha Devi, wife of Raj Ballabh Yadav

The RJD has handed the Nawada ticket to Vibha Devi, the wife of former MLA from the constituency, Raj Ballabh Yadav. The former MLA is in jail after being convicted of raping a minor girl. He is also accused of illegal mining, extortion and kidnapping. He was once called the RJD ‘money-bag’ but was suspended from the party in 2016 when he was convicted.

Manorama Devi, wife of Bindi Yadav

The JD(U) has handed the Atri ticket to Manorama Devi, the wife of strongman Bindi Yadav. He is accused of assault, murder and extortion and is in jail. Devi herself has spent time in jail for alleged illegal liquor supply. Their son, Rocket Yadav, is also a history sheeter and is serving a life sentence in a road rage case.

Lovely Anand, wife of Anand Mohan

The RJD has fielded Lovely Anand, the wife of Rajput strongman Anand Mohan, from the Saharsa constituency. Mohan is infamous as the main accused in the killing of the Dalit district magistrate of Gopalganj, IAS officer G. Krishnaiah, in 1994. He is now serving a life sentence for the murder. Their son Chetan Anand is also contesting on an RJD ticket from the Sheohar constituency.

Also read: BSP, AIMIM, RLSP’s new front in Bihar is eyeing Dalit-Muslim votes, could dent JD(U)


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  1. Can Bihar ever hope to become a civilized State with such notorious law breakers becoming law makers? Aren’t the political parties ashamed to field candidates who are in jail? At least, once the charges are framed by the court after taking evidence-for-charge, the person should be debarred from contesting the elections until he is acquitted or fully serves the sentence. Incidentally, I notice two Pandeys as gangsters. Why do Brahmins become gangsters, just like in UP? Does every caste in these Bimaru States have their own gangsters? Disgusting state of affairs.

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