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Bihar polls: Wives of politicians facing criminal charges get tickets from RJD

NEW DELHI: If a bahubali (strongman) politician or one accused of rape cannot fight an election in Bihar, his wife surely can. Wives of three such men have been granted party tickets by the Rashtriya Janata Dal, including the wife of the former MP Rama Singh whose entry was bitterly opposed by the late RJD vice president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.

Leading the pack of bahubali netas of Bihar is Anant Singh, popularly known as ‘Chhote Sarkar’, who arrived from Beur jail on Wednesday to file his nomination from the Mokama seat on an RJD ticket. His affidavit declared that he faced 38 serious criminal cases, including seven of murder, and nine out of the total cases were added to his tally since the 2015 assembly election. He left the JD (U) that year, after party chief Nitish Kumar tied up with the RJD. He is in jail after an AK-47 and explosives were recovered from him but has taken political refuge in the RJD.

His wife, Neelam Devi, is filing a nomination from the same seat as an independent to cover for him in case his nomination is rejected due to the plethora of cases against him, including for kidnapping, attempt to murder and sheltering criminals. If his nomination is rejected, the RJD will surely support his wife.

In the case of strongman and former MP Rama Singh, who also faces a flurry of criminal cases, the RJD has given him a back-door entry by fielding his wife Veena Singh from the Mahnar seat. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh had lost to Rama Singh in the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Vaishali and was dead against his entry into the RJD.

The RJD has also given a ticket to Vibha Devi, the wife of former RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Prasad who cannot contest the election after being convicted in a rape case in 2018. She will contest from Nawada assembly constituency, after she lost from the Nawada Lok Sabha constituency in 2019 on the party ticket.

Kiran Devi got an RJD ticket from Sandesh seat as her husband, Arun Singh, has been absconding for a year now since being named in a rape case. “If a political leader’s wife also wants to do public service and has winnability potential, what is anyone’s problem?” RJD spokesman Mrityunjay Tiwari told ET.

Deputy CM Sushil Modi of the BJP has slammed the RJD for its ticket distribution, saying it shows that the “jungle raaj” character of the party continues.

The RJD, however, pointed to the ruling JD (U) giving a ticket to former social justice minister Manju Verma from her seat in Begusarai. Verma was jailed in connection with the infamous Muzaffarpur child shelter abuse case along with her husband and is presently out on bail. CM Nitish Kumar had then dropped her from the cabinet.

“She was accused in an Arms Act case and not the Muzaffarpur shelter case per se. She has won her seat twice in 2010 and 2015 and comes from the important Kushwaha community,” said an JD (U) leader, who did not wish to be identified.

The Congress is the only party in Bihar which has declared it will not give a ticket to anyone accused of rape.

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