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Wives of ‘criminals’, dynasts — few surprises in RJD, JD(U) first list for Bihar polls

While the RJD has named 20 candidates, the first list of the JD(U) had 15 names. Their allies, the Congress and the BJP, respectively, are yet to release any candidate names.

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Patna: Wives of criminals, convicted and alleged, and close relatives of politicians seemed to have found favour as the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Janata Dal (United) released their first list of candidates Monday for the upcoming Bihar assembly elections

While the RJD has named 20 candidates, the first list of the JD(U) had 15 names. Their allies, the Congress and the BJP, respectively, are yet to release any candidate names.

Ten of the RJD’s candidates are Yadavs, which appeared to raise questions about leader Tejashwi Yadav’s claim that he would transform the party from a vehicle focused on the Muslim-Yadav combine to an “A-Z” outfit. Nominations for greenhorn wives of two leaders who are accused of rape also appear to fly in the face of his promise to nominate clean candidates.

The RJD’s rivals alleged that the tickets for “criminals’ wives” suggested the candidates were stand-ins.

The first list of the JD(U) doesn’t nominate tainted candidates, but the stamp of dynasty politics is clear.


Also Read: Nitish no longer ‘big brother’ in Bihar, JD(U) likely to cede 50% assembly seats to BJP


Tejashwi yet to break from the past?

To honour Tejashwi Yadav’s promise of change, the RJD removed the face of party chief Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi from the party’s posters.

Rabri Devi famously stood in for her husband as Bihar Chief Minister in the late 1990s and early 2000s as Lalu faced the heat for the fodder scam. He is currently in jail in connection with the case. 

The RJD candidate list includes one woman whose husband is accused of rape, and a second whose husband has been convicted on that count.

Raj Ballabh Yadav’s assembly membership was terminated when he was convicted of a minor’s rape in 2018. His wife Bibha Devi, who also contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on an RJD ticket but lost, will now aim for an assembly seat. 

Another RJD MLA, Arun Yadav, has been underground for the past one year since he was charged with raping a minor girl. His wife Kiran Yadav is now among the RJD candidates named in the first list. 

Others on the list include the sons of state RJD president Jagdanand Singh, former Union minister Kanti Singh, and Shivanand Tiwari (his son Mantu Tiwari is a sitting RJD MLA). The brother of former Union minister Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav figures in the list too. 

All these leaders are close to Lalu Prasad and the father’s writ runs large in the party. 

On Monday, former MP Rama Singh, an accused in several cases, met Tejashwi Yadav. RJD insiders say that Rama Singh’s wife may be accommodated as a candidate from Mahnar in Vaishali district. 

It was the entry of Rama Singh that led the late Raghuvansh Prasad Singh to quit the RJD earlier this year, right before his death. As a result, state RJD chief Jagdanand Singh had to face a hostile group of RJD supporters at the state office — all criticising the party for not honouring Raghuvansh’s last wish.

The RJD list has drawn criticism from the BJP. 

“It’s in the RJD’s blood that they promote and patronise criminals. The criminals operate through wives,” said BJP MLA Nawal Kishore Yadav.

Ally Congress, however, defended the party.

“The EC does not forbid kin from contesting polls. Let the JD(U) and the BJP come up with the entire list, you will find similar candidates,” said Congress spokesperson Harku Jha.

The RJD offered a similar response. “There is no tainted candidate in the RJD list. None of the candidates has criminal records and there is no rule that wives or children of such persons should be treated as guilty and denied tickets,” said RJD MLA Md Nemattulah.

“As far as promoting family is concerned, it’s for the people to decide if the candidate is fit for the post. Sons and kin of politicians are promoted by all political parties — especially by those who throw the charge against us.”


Also Read: No rallies or roadshows, Bihar digital election is on WhatsApp, Facebook — BJP’s home turf


‘Sadhu verses criminal’

CM Nitish Kumar has tried to keep tainted candidates out of the list so far. MLA Anant Singh, an alleged don who represents Mokama — from 2005 to 2015 as a JD(U) candidate, and since then as an Independent — is expected to contest again this time. 

The JD(U) has fielded one Rajiv Locha, who belongs to the same caste but has a clean image, from Mokama. “It’s going to be a contest between a sadhu and a criminal in Mokama,” said state minister Neeraj Kumar of the JD(U).

Nitish has also accommodated some turncoats from the Congress and the RJD, even though ally BJP is believed to have advised against it. Among others, the list includes dynasts like sons of former MP Jagdish Sharma and the late former parliamentarian Rajo Singh. 

Asked about the list, Rajiv Ranjan Prasad of the JD(U) said, “Let the complete list come out, you will find that our list has clean-image candidates.” 

Tuesday was the fifth day for filing of nomination papers for the first phase of Bihar elections, scheduled for 28 October. The last day for filing nominations for the first phase is 8 October.


Also Read: BJP, Congress, RJD & JD(U) leaders find common ground in Bihar — tickets for sons


 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Our politics is so ugly, dirty, corrupt and violent that only Criminals can deal with it. Patriotic, democratic minded citizens like us sit helplessly and wonder how and when did we let the criminals take over our country??? Why have we abdicated to them? With the best will in the world, I don’t have the courage to jump into the cess pool that they have turned the political arena into! I hope others are braver than me and will have the courage to join politics and provide the honest, patriotic, democratic leadership this country is crying out for!

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