Twilight hour for the don

A long historysheet against their names, these men from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are used to having their own way. But this time, at the battle of the ballot, they discovered the pay-off isn't as instantaneous. Here's how the dice rolled:


3 wins but 7 misses for state's top history-sheeters


3 wins but 7 misses for state's top history-sheeters

Atiq Ahmed, Apna Dal (Pratapgarh)

Verdict: Lost to Congress candidate Ratna Singh, coming fourth with around 1 lakh votes. This was the first time he lost an election. Incidentally, his political career had taken off after he allegedly killed a corporator and was then elected to the same post. A four-time MLA from Allahabad City (West) and a former Samajwadi Party MP from Phulpur, Atiq contested from prison.

Don factor: Currently lodged in Lalitpur jail, Ahmed has 136 cases of murder, kidnapping and extortion against him. He was also among the Samajwadi Party workers named in the infamous attack on Mayawati at a state guest house in Lucknow in 1995. Recently, the Uttar Pradesh Police lodged a case against him and some others for intimidating witnesses in the murder of BSP MLA Raju Pal, who was killed in Allahabad on January 25, 2005.

Dhananjay Singh, BSP (Jaunpur)

Verdict: Won, beating sitting MP and Samajwadi Party stalwart Paras Nath Yadav. The two-time MLA from Rari in Jaunpur joined the BSP in July last year. He had won the Assembly seat first in 2002 and then in 2007 on a JD(U) ticket. He made national news in April this year when he was blamed for the death of Indian Justice Party candidate Bahadur Sonekar, whose body was found hanging from a tree.

Don factor: There are 25 criminal cases, including four under the Gangster Act, registered against him at various police stations of Jaunpur and Lucknow. Singh's name first figured in the murder of Frederick Gomes, a physical training instructor of La Martiniere College in Lucknow, on March 7, 1997. Singh was later declared absconding after being named in the murder of PWD engineer Gopal Sharan Srivastava in a daylight shootout in 1998 in Ghazipur and a reward announced on his head.

Mukhtar Ansari, BSP (Varanasi)

Verdict: The jailed leader lost to the BJP's Murli Manohar Joshi. He is a three-time MLA from Mau.

Don factor: Mukhtar has been named accused in dozens of serious crimes including under the Gangster Act and National Security Act in Ghazipur, Chandauli, Sonebhadra, Lucknow, Agra and Delhi, which are all his areas of operation. His bail application is still pending at the Allahabad High Court in the case of the sensational killing of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in Ghazipur district on November 29, 2005. The CBI has named Ansari as the main conspirator behind the murder. The UP police slapped the Gangster Act against him in 2007 for threatening Ajay Rai, who contested from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat. Ansari and his men had allegedly shot dead Ajay Rai's elder brother Awadhesh in 1991.

D P Yadav, BSP (Badaun)

Verdict: Lost to SP candidate Dharmendra Yadav, a relative of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. An MLA from Sahaswan in Badaun, Yadav merged his party Rashtriya Parivartan Dal with the BSP in 2008.

Don factor: The former Rajya Sabha member is considered by the police as one of the most powerful criminals of western Uttar Pradesh. He has 40 cases against him, including nine of murder. He has also been booked under the Gangster Act and the National Security Act. Yadav's son Vikas is an accused in the high-profile Nitish Katara and Jessica Lal murder cases.

Ramakant Yadav, BJP (Azamgarh)

Verdict: The three-time MP won, beating BSP strongman and sitting MP Akbar Ahmad 'Dumpy' by around 1 lakh votes. He had won the seat twice earlier, on an SP ticket and on the BSP's in 2004 (he lost the seat in the 2008 by-election after leaving the party).

Don factor: He has 34 cases against him, including under the Goonda and Gangster Acts. He was allegedly also involved in the attack on Mayawati at the guest house in Lucknow in 1995. His brother Umakant was arrested from outside Mayawati's office on charges of razing shops and houses and trying to grab land in Azamgarh. Umakant is lodged in Lucknow jail.

Arun Shankar Shukla a.k.a. Anna, BSP (Unnao)

Verdict: Lost to Congress candidate Annu Tandon by a huge margin. A former confidant of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Anna Maharaj joined the BSP in July.

Don factor: A history-sheeter from Lucknow, Shukla has as many as 50 cases, including murder, against him, the most well-known being again the guest house attack on Mayawati. The Goonda Act, Gangster Act and NSA have been invoked against him.

Brij Bhushan Saran Singh, SP (Kaiserganj)

Verdict: Won by a margin of over 70,000 votes, beating BJP candidate Surendra Nath Awasthi. He won the Balrampur Lok Sabha seat thrice on a BJP ticket before switching loyalties.

Don factor: Around 31 cases, including several murder cases, are lodged against him. He was arrested in 1996 under TADA for alleged association with Dawood Ibrahim. Another case against him was of attempting to murder politician Pandit Singh. He has also been booked under the Goonda and Gangster Acts.

Mitrasen Yadav, SP (Faizabad)

Verdict: The sitting MP (he had won the seat on an BSP ticket) lost to Congress candidate Nirmal Khatri by around 1 lakh votes.

Don factor: Mitrasen was sentenced to life for murdering two brothers in 1996, but escaped punishment because of a gubernatorial pardon. Since then too, he has been named in numerous criminal cases, eight of which are still pending. Mitrasen had been named in 33 cases, including the murder of policeman Mohan Das Rai in 1985 and BSP worker Bhawani Pher Yadav in 1996.

The state Government withdrew the Mohan Das Rai murder case while the trial of the Bhawani Pher case has been stayed on the directive of the Allahabad High Court.

Rizwan Zaheer, BSP (Shrawasti)

Verdict: Lost to Congress candidate Vinay Kumar Pandey by 42,000 votes. A three-time MLA from Tulsipur in Balrampur, he left the SP in 2004.

Don factor: Over a dozen cases were lodged against Zaheer and the Goonda Act and National Security Act were also slapped on him. Accused in the 1990 murder of five persons in Balrampur, Rizwan surrendered before the court in 1993. He won the Assembly elections from behind bars on an SP ticket. He has been acquitted in all but one case attempting to commit suicide during a protest against police atrocities in 2000 when he was an MP from Balrampur.

Om Prakash Gupta, SP (Dhaurahra)

Verdict: Lost to Congress candidate Jitin Prasada.

Don factor: The six-time MLA from Sitapur stands out for the sheer number of cases that he has been booked under 69 for crimes including murder, attempt to murder and dacoity. The cases against him include hurling of bombs at a meeting of BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi in February 2002. Despite the submission of a chargesheet, the state Government withdrew the case in 2006. He has been booked twice under the Gangster Act. In his affidavit at the time of filing of nominations though, Gupta stated that there were only 11 cases pending against him.


Even families out in 'clean' sweep

Hina Sahab, RJD (Siwan)

Verdict: The wife of former RJD MP Mohd Shahabuddin was fielded by the party after her husband was barred from contesting elections. Siwan had been represented by the incarcerated parliamentarian from 1996 till the 2004 elections. Hina a sheltered housewife and mother of three lost to JD(U) rebel and Independent candidate Om Prakash Yadav, shattering her dream of completeing her husband's "unfinished work".

Don factor: Shahabuddin, facing over 40 cases of murder, extortion and criminal intimidation, has been convicted in six cases including one of murder so far. Trials are on in other cases at a special court set up on the Siwan jail premises. The special court sentenced the MP to life on May 8, 2007, for the 1999 kidnapping and killing of Chhote Lal Gupta, a CPI(M-L) worker, which means Shahabuddin couldn't contest himself.

Vina Devi, LJP (Nawada)

Verdict: She entered the poll arena after her husband Suraj Singh alias Surajbhan, a former MP from Balia, was barred from contesting. Vina had been been actively taking part in politics during Surajbhan's tenure as MP and LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan said her candidature was "reward for her hard work". Surajbhan, a Bhumihar, had chosen Nawada for his wife, believing fellow Bhumihars would support her.

Don factor: Surajbhan, sentenced to life in the 1992 Rami Singh murder case, has been known for ending up on the wrong side of law. Paswan fielded him in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections saying that the present, rather than the past, mattered. A case of criminal conspiracy was recently lodged against him after Nagina Singh, a witness in the Rami Singh murder case, was killed. Surajbhan has been out on bail.

Ranjeet Ranjan, Congress (Supaul)

Verdict: Though her husband Rajesh Ranjan aka Pappu Yadav was barred from contesting the Lok Sabha polls due to a murder conviction, he saw hope in Ranjeet, who had won the 2004 election from Saharsa on an LJP ticket. Ranjeet jumped to the Congress and contested from Supaul as a new poster girl of the withered Congress in Bihar, where she enjoyed a good reputation on account of her active role in Parliament and relief work during the Kosi floods. But her identity as Pappu Yadav's wife did not stand her in good stead. Despite pulling big crowds, she lost by over 1.5 lakh votes.

Don factor: Expelled RJD MP Pappu Yadav has been convicted in the 1998 murder of CPI(M) leader Ajit Sarkar. Sarkar, who played a prominent role in the politics of Purnea, had threatened Pappu's standing there. Pappu faced long incarceration first in Patna and subsequently in Tihar Jail. Pappu's private parties and flouting of jail manual norms had forced the Patna High Court to shift him to Tihar Jail.

Shanti Priya, Congress-backed Independent (Purnea)

Verdict: Pappu Yadav didn't want to take chances, so even his mother Shanti Priya was forced to make a foray into politics to take on on Ajit Sarkar's wife Madhavi from Purnea. Pappu even got the Congress to support her candidature. However, Priya made most news when her affidavit recorded her age as 49, making her only seven years elder than her son. Both Priya and Madhavi lost.

Lovely Anand, Congress (Sheohar)

Verdict: The wife of former JD(U) MP Anand Mohan tried her luck from Sheohar on a Congress ticket after he was sentenced to life in the lynching to death of bureaucrat G Krishnaiah. However, Lovely Mohan, also a former MP, ended up forfeiting her security deposit at Sheohar.

Don factor: Currently lodged in Bhagalpur Central Jail, Mohan once projected himself as a leader of Rajputs and other upper castes opposite Lalu Prasad Yadav, However, he started going into political oblivion soon after he joined hands with Lalu. In 1994, he was leading an angry protest against the killing of the brother of another well-known Bihar history-sheeter, Munna Shukla, when he ran into Gopalganj DM Krishnaiah. The latter faced his and his supporters' fury for being "a representative of the government". After this, Mohan fell from grace.

Munna Shukla, JD (U) (Vaishali)

Verdict: Soon after the High Court order quashing his life sentence in the G Krishnaiah lynching case, Vijay Kumar Shukla alias Munna Shukla, jumped into the fray yet again from Vaishali. In 2004, he had won the seat as an Independent. However, Shukla stood little chance against the RJD's star minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, credited with the success of the UPA Government's NREGA scheme.

Don factor: The Krishnaiah lynching case was the only case registered against him. While he has been cleared by the High Court, the taint has stuck.

Prabhunath Singh, JD (U) (Maharajganj)

Verdict: Everyone had thought Maharajganj would be a cakewalk for Prabhunath Singh, who was cleared in a row of cases last year and who was supposed to be riding the pro-Nitish Kumar wave. However, the RJD's clever fielding of a distant relative against him, the intra-party resistance to his candidature and Singh's own image as muscleman went against Singh.

Don factor: A Patna fast-track court in December last year acquitted Prabhunath Singh in the 1995 Mashrakh double murder case for lack of evidence. Singh and seven aides were charged with shooting Rajendra Rai, 18, and Daroga Rai, 47, on March 25, 1995, near a polling booth at Masrakh in Chhapra. While Daroga died the same day, Rajendra died six months later . The two were allegedly shot because they had not voted for the candidate "suggested" by Prabhunath. The Patna HC had to transfer the case from Chhapra after the victims' brother Lalmuni Devi alleged that witnesses were being "threatened and influenced". Singh has been so far acquitted in five cases relating to murder attempts to murder.

With Manish Sahu in Lucknow and Santosh Singh in Patna

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