It is a classic tale of the bad guy turning good. MLA Chitranjan Kumar’s name was among the 43 candidates BJP announced for the first two phases of Bihar elections
Kumar will be contesting from his constituency Arwal, an agrarian town located on the banks of the River Son.
He is a sitting MLA, having won the seat in 2010 by defeating Mahanand Prasad of CPI (M-L).
But Bihar is one of those states in India where politicians have a slew of criminal cases registered against them. Kumar is no exception. What makes him unique, however, is his transformation.
Once upon a time, Kumar was a member of the dreaded Pandav Sena.
The outfit was notorious for its activities in the Jehanabad district. Pandav Sena’s name first surfaced with the murder of one Ajay Singh in 1990. Terrorised by the outfit, many doctors fled Jehanabad and adjoining areas. A number of criminal cases were registered against the outfit.
Being a member of the outfit, people were once terrified of Kumar. But, according to Dainik Bhaskar, epiphany dawned upon him one day and he left his chequered background to follow in the footsteps of Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Ever since leaving the outfit, Kumar has been organising Art of Living classes in many towns and villages of Bihar.
He has a team of 10-12 people who go around asking people to stay away from booze and violence. But Kumar admitted that there are still a number of criminal cases registered against him.
One notable thing is that parties have still put their faith in candidates having a criminal background. JD(U) has fielded 38 candidates with criminal cases or records. BJP has 47, RJD 6, LJP 1, Congress 3 and 1 independent will be fighting it out in upcoming Bihar assembly elections. In 2010, 65 per cent of all BJP candidates had pending criminal cases against them
– the highest. The figure was also up by 12 per cent from 2005.