Amid its victory celebrations in Bihar, the Nitish Kumar-led ruling combine has a point of discomfiture as well as irony.
Its legislative team will have the highest number of victors with serious criminal charges such as murder, extortion and kidnapping, despite the much-publicised and -acclaimed success of the present government on the law and order front.
Of the 141 tainted candidates who won, 85 face serious criminal charges. The charges against the other 56 are minor.
The JD-U, which bagged the highest number of seats (115), has 43 of its new MLAs facing criminal charges, followed by the BJP with 29 out of its 91 winners, says a statement of the Bihar Election Watch.
On the other hand, few of such strong persons from the RJD and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) could win. While seven of them won on the RJD ticket, the LJP and the Congress has two each. Two are independent.
Hence, in proportional terms the LJP has the highest percentage of such MLAs (66%, two of the three).
The Election Commission declared the Bihar election the most peaceful in recent times.
Those who could not contest because of conviction fielded their wives, some of whom won. Some prominent wives lost a la Lovely Anand, wife of Anand Mohan, convicted in the murder of IAS officer Krishnaiah in 1994, and Ranjeet Ranjan, wife of Pappu Yadav, now in jail on charges of killing CPM leader Ajit Sarkar in 1998. Both Lovely Anand and Ranjeet Ranjan were Congress candidates.
Here are some of the ones with criminal charges from the JD-U: Anant Singh (Mokama), Manoranjan Prasad Singh alias Dhumal Singh (Ekma) and Sunil Pandey (Tarari).
Another JD-U winner with a criminal record is Sarfaraz Alam (Jokihat), son of controversial former central minister Mohammad Taslimuddin.
The BJP’s winners among such MLAs include Munni Devi (Shahpur) and Damyanti Devi (Nalpatganj), wife of gangster Bhagir Yadav.