Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) fields 46 candidates – including nine women – with criminal cases

NEW DELHI: It was the turn of the chief minister Nitish Kumar-headed Janata Dal (United) to publish explanations for fielding 46 candidates out of 115 candidates for the upcoming assembly election with criminal cases against them, saying the candidates had worked remarkably against Covid-19 and for prohibition.

Earlier, the main opposition party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), had to declare on its party website and social media platforms, as mandated by the Election Commission, why it had given tickets to 61 candidates with a criminal history, out of the 144 candidates fielded by the party.

The JD (U)’s list includes nine women candidates with criminal cases against them, but the party sought to justify their candidatures saying “our party’s concern to field as many women candidates has been taken into consideration” while selecting such candidates.

Prominent among them is Bihar’s former social justice minister Manju Verma, who was jailed in connection with the Muzaffarpur child shelter abuse case and faces charges under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Arms Act.

“Party workers have reported that Manju Verma as a social worker has done remarkable work with regard to empowerment of women, prohibition, decentralisation of power, motivating dropout children to re-join school etc. apart from her commendable work during Covid-19 pandemic,” the JD (U) said in declaration on its website, justifying her candidature for the third time from the Cheria Bariarpur constituency. “In the field of women empowerment, our party’s achievement in the state of Bihar in the last 15 years is unparalleled in the country’s history.”

Regarding another candidate, Ashma Praveen, who has been fielded from Mahua and faces a case under the Pre-Natal Diagnostics Techniques Act, the JD (U) said “the concern of the party to field as many women and people belonging to the minority community has also been taken into consideration while selecting Ashma Praveen”.

The state’s industries minister Jai Kumar Singh, who has been fielded again from Dinara, has a pending case against him of 2003 under the Arms Act and for attempted murder. “He has been responsible for setting up a large number of units and generating lakhs of employment in the state. The party is proud of his performance as minister. The last cases registered against him were 17 years ago and we believe that that was due to political vendetta by his rivals,” said the JD(U). Amrendra Pandey, who faces 11 cases including of murder and extortion, has been fielded from Kuchaikot, as the party said he conducted mass marriages of underprivileged people and did relief work done during Covid-19.

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