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Separatists, Khalistanis, accused criminals and rebels: Here are the 7 Independents who won Lok Saba polls, including 2 in prison

Among the 7 Independents who won Lok Sabha polls, Khalistani leader Amritpal Singh and separatist leader Abdul Rashid Sheikh are in prison

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has announced the results for all the 542 (one BJP candidate had won from Surat unopposed) Lok Sabha seats. Although the NDA has surpassed the majority mark and is poised to form the next government, the opposition I.N.D.I. Alliance has also ramped up its efforts to gather numbers to stake its claims. While the numbers are heavily decked to indicate a rout of non-NDA, non-I.N.D.I. Alliance parties or candidates, 7 Independents have emerged victorious in these elections. 

Here are the details of the 7 Independent candidates who have won the Lok Sabha elections this time –

Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav: Local strongman with a criminal past

Rajesh Ranjan aka Pappu Yadav, who had jumped parties multiple times in his ‘political career’, won as an Independent candidate from Bihar’s Purnia. He got 5,67,556 votes and defeated JDU’s sitting MP Santosh Kumar by a margin of over 23,000 votes.

(Source – ECI)

The five-time MP from Bihar, Yadav is a local strongman politician with a criminal past. He is an accused in cases of kidnapping and rioting and has a murder case pending against him in the Supreme Court. 

On 20th March this year, Yadav formally merged his political outfit Jan Adhikar Party (Loktantrik) into Congress claiming that Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had assured him a ticket from Purnia. However, as per the I.N.D.I. Alliance seat-sharing pact, RJD bagged the Purnia seat. Following the development, Pappu Yadav filed the Lok Sabha nominations from Purnia on 30th March as an independent candidate. 

Over the years, he was associated with various parties including the RJD, the Samajwadi Party, and the Lok Janshakti Party. On 9th May 2015, he launched a new party called Jan Adhikar Party ahead of the elections. In September 2020, prior to the Bihar Assembly Elections, Yadav formed a new alliance named the People Democratic Alliance (PDA), which included the Bahujan Mukti Party, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the Indian Muslim League, and the party of Bhim Army President Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan. Notably, SDPI is the political wing of the Popular Front of India (PFI) which has been banned under UAPA for extremist and terrorist activities.

Abdul Rashid Sheikh: Separatist leader currently lodged in Tihar under UAPA

In Baramulla, independent candidate Abdul Rashid Sheikh secured 4,72,481 votes (45.7% vote share). He comfortably defeated Omar Abdullah, former chief minister of J&K and leader of Jammu & Kashmir National Conference, who managed to secure only 2,68,339 votes. It is notable that Sheikh, a separatist leader, is currently lodged in Tihar under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

(Source – ECI)

Popularly known as Engineer Rashid, he is the founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Awami Ittehad Party. Earlier, he contested Assembly Elections in 2008 and 2014 and stood victorious. He also contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections but could not win. Before joining politics, he was a construction engineer, hence the name Engineer Rashid. In 2019, he was arrested by the National Investigation Agency on the charges of terror funding activities becoming the first recognised leader to be arrested under UAPA. He represents a faction that has challenged the sovereignty of India in the region for decades.

Sarabjeet Singh Khalsa: Son of Beant Singh, the man who assassinated Former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi

In Faridkot, Sarabjeet Singh Khalsa contested as an independent candidate. He is son of Beant Singh, one of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assasins. Sarabjeet secured 2,98,062 votes (29.38% vote share). He defeated Aam Aadmi Party’s Karamjit Singh Anmol who received 2,28,009. Sarabjeet’s family is known for its pro-Khalistani sentiments and has advocated for a separate Sikh state. 

(Source – ECI)

His victory is a stark reminder that the undercurrents of the Khalistani movement persist in the state of Punjab posing a serious threat to India’s unity and integrity.

Amritpal Singh: Pro-Khalistani separatist leader lodged in Dibrugarh jail for radical Khalistani activities

In Khadoor Sahib, another pro-Khalistani separatist leader Amritpal Singh won by a significant margin and is the second candidate to win from jail. Amritpal Singh is currently lodged in Dibrugarh Jail in Assam after being arrested by central agencies under National Security Act (NSA). Amritpal secured 4,04,430 votes which translated to 38.62% vote share. He defeated Congress’s Kulbur Singh Zira who secured 2,07,310 votes. Amritpal Singh gained popularity in Punjab after taking over the late Deep Sidhu’s organisation Waris Punjab De. Sidhu was also a pro-Khalistani leader. Notably, Amritpal was seen as Bhindranwale 2.0 by pro-Khalistani elements in Punjab.

In 2023, Central agencies and Punjab Police launched a manhunt against Amritpal Singh for his pro-Khalistani and anti-India activities. The hunt began in March 2023 but he managed to stay on the run for over a month and was arrested at the end of April 2023. Amritpal Singh, who donned attire similar to Khalistani terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale during his march across Punjab, gave an impression that his movement was against drugs in the state, which is a serious problem.

By the time he was arrested, Amritpal already had a weapon training centre and gained lakhs of followers which was visible in the election results. Amritpal Singh and several of his aides are currently lodged in Dibrugarh Jail in Assam. A Khalistani leader securing over 4 lakh votes is not a good sign for national security.

Mohmad Haneefa: Candidate from Shia Muslim-dominated Kargin region wins Ladakh

Mohmad Haneefa, who was a candidate from the Shia Muslim-dominated Kargil region, won the Ladakh Lok Sabha constituency as an independent candidate. He secured 65,303 votes and defeated his nearest Congress rival Tsering Namgyal by a margin of 27,906 votes. In the triangular contest, BJP’s Tashi Gyalson bagged 31,956 votes. This was the first major electoral contest in the region since it was carved out from Jammu and Kashmir and designated as a Union Territory in 2019.

Haneefa, a former district president of the National Conference, quit the party along with its entire Kargil unit to contest as an Independent after the Congress fielded Namgyal as the I.N.D.I. Alliance candidate. 

Umesh Babubhai Patel: Has 14 criminal cases, defeats three-time BJP MP

In a major setback to the BJP, independent candidate Umesh Babubhai Patel defeated its three-term MP Lalu Patel by 6,225 votes from the only Lok Sabha seat in the Union Territory of Daman and Diu. Umesh secured 42,523 votes while Lalu got only 36,298. Congress’s Ketan Patel finished third as he got 11,258 votes. He had contested in 2019 as well but he lost to Lalu Patel that year. 

Responding to a media query about which party he would support, Patel said, “I am yet to decide, but the decision will be taken keeping in mind the betterment of the people of Daman and Diu. We will talk to the people and my core people.”

An arts graduate, Umesh runs the NGO, Daman Youth Action Force (DYAF). For a long time now, he has been leading protests against the administrator of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Prafful Patel. According to the details mentioned by him in his election affidavit, Patel has 14 criminal cases registered against him. The details can be read from here.  

He came into the media limelight in April 2017 when DYAF opposed the Gujarat High Court’s decision to merge Daman and Diu with Gujarat for effective implementation of the Gujarat Prohibition Act. According to the Gujarat government’s submission in the High Court, 90% of liquor seized was smuggled from Daman. 

On 14th April 2017, he was arrested after he took out a huge rally against the Gujarat High Court-directed merger. He also runs Swami Vivekanand Vidhyalay in Nani Daman, offering education to students from classes 1 to 10 in both Hindi and English. On 7th September 2021, he was arrested yet again following the alleged suicide of a clerk who worked at the school. 

In his complaint, Kishan Shahis, the father of Prashant Shahis who died by hanging himself, accused him of constantly harassing his son after which he took the extreme step.

Vishal Prakashbapu Patil: Grandson of Former Maharashtra CM and late Congress leader Vasantdada Patil, his victory has sparked a rift between I.N.D.I. alliance partners in Maharashtra

Vishal (Dada) Prakashbapu Patil has won from the Sangli Lok Sabha constituency as an independent candidate. He secured 5,71,666 votes and defeated BJP’s Sanjay (Kaka) Patil by over 1 lakh votes, a huge margin for an independent candidate. The I.N.D.I. Alliance candidate, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackrey) leader Chandrahar Subhash Patil came in third place. 

Vishal is the grandson of former Maharashtra chief minister and late Congress leader Vasantdada Patil. He contested as an independent candidate after he failed to get a Congress ticket. 

Vishal (Dada) Prakashbapu Patil has 9 criminal cases against him including charges related to Forgery (IPC Section-463), making a false document (IPC Section-464), and charges related to Punishment for forgery (IPC Section-465). 

Meanwhile, Vishal’s victory as an independent has sparked a rift between I.N.D.I. Alliance partners in Maharashtra with Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders engaging in a war of words with leaders, supporters of their alliance over the election results and aftermath of seat-sharing talks over Sangli seat. 

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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