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_ is used to signify that even though something is being returned, we don't plan to use that variable any where.
gives the following error in above code in python 2.7.13 : at 0x7f60c947e910>
You need to put an additional  in addition to [a,b,c]. Because the output that you want is are lists within a list.
It's also an old Perl trick. If you just performed the input command without assigning the data to anything, it was still available in the $_ variable by default.