However, what the RJD says on its website about its candidate is more revealing. ‘He is more popular than any other candidate in the area. He is always ready to uplift the poor and down-trodden person of society. He is always ready to help the poor person of the area and that’s why many criminal cases were lodged against him’.
After a Supreme Court order directing political parties to explain publicly when it chooses a candidate with criminal antecedents, the Election Commission of India (ECI) guidelines this year has made this mandatory.
RJD is now the first party to publish similar prevarications about 20 such candidates it has chosen to fight in the Bihar elections. “Due to his popularity in this area, his probability of winning is higher than any other candidate,” RJD said about Singh, on the reasons sought by the ECI on why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as a candidate.
The ECI had specifically wanted parties to explain the reasons for the selection of a candidate with reference to qualifications, achievements and merit and not mere winnability at the polls. RJD's reasoning for its 20-odd candidates with criminal backgrounds is generally consistent, like saying that the person is very popular politically and active in the area, works for the upliftment of the poor or women or the person is well-educated and that the person has a higher chance of winning than others given he or she is a former or current MLA.
Like, the BA and LLB qualification of party’s Makhdumpur candidate Satish Kumar is cited against eight criminal cases against him, while sitting MLA Surendra Prasad Yadav’s MA and PhD is cited to justify his candidature from Belagang despite nine criminal cases including of an attempted murder and one under the POSCO Act.
Ajay Yadav from Atari seat is described as an “educated person” who is “very active for the development and welfare of the area and no other candidate in the party is as good as him.” Yadav faces 14 criminal cases, including under the Arms and Explosives Act.
Most other candidates with criminal antecedents from the RJD fall short of a college degree and some women with criminal cases also feature in the list. Like Manju Agarwal, who is fighting on an RJD ticket from Sherghati constituency, has three criminal cases against her on charges under Arms Act and assault.
“She has always been eager for the financial and educational development of women in the area,” RJD said about Agarwal. About sitting MLA Anita Devi, the RJD’s candidate from the Nokha seat who has a sole case under the Epidemic Diseases Act against her, the party said leads runs women groups in the area for their empowerment and is very popular in the villages.
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