New Delhi: Despite preaching clean politics from the TV studios and in political rallies, every political party in Bihar, including the BJP, JDU, RJD and the LJP, has given election tickets to criminals or their close relatives.

In order to bypass the Election Commission’s directions to political parties of prominently displaying the criminal records of their candidates in media and on social media, almost every party has given tickets to the wives of criminals, despite being aware that the wives will be just the face, while the actual campaigning and the exercise of legislative power, if they are elected as MLAs, will be done by their husbands.

In the Warisaliganj seat of Nawada, the BJP has repeated its sitting MLA Aruna Devi, who is the wife of dreaded don Akhilesh Singh. Singh is an accused in the July 2004 Nawada massacre in which 10 people were killed at Chakwai village. Aruna Devi had earlier been a member of the LJP and the Congress before joining the BJP in 2015. Akhilesh Singh, who had contested the 2009 Lok Sabha polls as an independent, had declared 27 cases against him which included 11 charges of attempt to murder, three of extortion and three of murder.

The RJD has asked Veena Singh to contest from the Manhar seat in Vaishali district. She is the wife of Rama Kishore Singh, a former Member of Parliament who had won from the Vaishali Lok Sabha LS seat in 2014 on an LJP ticket. He is accused of kidnapping, including kidnapping a child under 10 years, murder and that of receiving stolen property.

The RJD has also given ticket to Anant Singh from Mokama, who is facing six charges of murder, five of attempts to murder and two of kidnappings, among others. He is presently in prison after an AK-47 rifle was recovered from his home in 2019. His wife, Neelam, too is contesting the ticket as an independent candidate. This is not for the first time that the husband-wife duo is contesting the elections from the same seat. Singh ensures that his wife files her nomination so that in case his candidature is cancelled for any reason, his wife can win the election. According to political observers, the fear of Singh is accepted even by the highest elected office of the state.

Similarly, Vibha Devi, the wife of Raj Ballabh Yadav who had been convicted of kidnapping and raping a minor girl, has been fielded from Nawada by the RJD. Kiran Devi, the wife of Arun Kumar Yadav, an MLA, has been given the ticket from Sandesh seat by RJD. Arun Yadav is absconding for the last two years and faces charges of kidnapping and raping a minor girl. On the orders of the court, his properties had been attached.

The LJP’s candidate from Brahmpur seat in Buxar district is Hulas Pandey, who is their state vice president. Pandey, who was earlier with the JDU, apart from carrying charges of murder (4), attempt to murder (3), and extortion, is the brother of dreaded criminal Sunil @ Narendra Pandey, who carries multiple charges of murder, dacoity and extortion on his head. The LJP, which was contesting the 2015 elections in an alliance with the BJP, in 2015 had given the ticket from Tarari seat to his wife despite BJP leaders being made aware of the criminal antecedents of Sunil Pandey. Pandey had been arrested just months before the elections for felicitating the escape of a criminal from Arrah civil court by using a human bomb, a woman, who died in the bombing.

Even Nitish Kumar and his party, the JDU, which is seen as a votary of clean politics, has given ticket to Manorama Devi—a sitting MLC from Gaya district—whose late husband Bindeshwari Prasad Yadav was a local muscleman. Her son, Rocky Yadav has shot dead Aditya, a teen studying in Class 12 in May 2016 in Gaya, after Aditya overtook his car. Nitish Kumar had later suspended Manorama from the party. She is now the party’s official candidate from Sherghati in Gaya.

The JDU, just like other parties, with the intention to make a mockery of the EC’s rules, has given ticket to Sita Devi from the Ekma seat. She is the wife of four-time MLA and well-known criminal Manoranjan Singh @Dhumal Singh.