Uttar Pradesh elections: Mukhtar Ansari joins BSP, to contest from Mau | assembly-elections | Hindustan Times
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Uttar Pradesh elections: Mukhtar Ansari joins BSP, to contest from Mau

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) welcomed jailed gangster-politician Mukhtar Ansari and his family after his Qaumi Ekta Dal merged with the party on Thursday, ahead of crucial assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

assembly elections Updated: Jan 27, 2017 14:41 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Mukhtar Ansari’s brother and son also joined the BSP in the presence of party supremo Mayawati.
Mukhtar Ansari’s brother and son also joined the BSP in the presence of party supremo Mayawati.(HT Photo)

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) welcomed jailed gangster-politician Mukhtar Ansari and his family after his Qaumi Ekta Dal merged with the party on Thursday, ahead of crucial assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Mukhtar had over 40 criminal cases against him, including murder and kidnapping. He is a prime accused in the 2005 murder of BJP legislator Krishnanand Rai, for which he is lodged in Agra jail currently.

“Our party has always given chance to people to reform themselves. That is why we say that BSP isn’t just a political party but a social revolution,” party chief Mayawati said.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, she had described Mukhtar as “garibon ka masiha” or saviour of the poor.

He was among the reasons behind a family feud in the Samajwadi Party (SP) as chief minister Akhilesh Yadav overruled uncle Shivpal Yadav’s decision to let the don join the ruling party.

Shivpal had argued that a merger with the QED would help retain Muslim votes in eastern UP’s Ghazipur district, where the SP won six out of seven assembly seats in the 2012 assembly elections. Mukhtar’s brother Sibgatullah Ansari won the seventh seat, Mohammadabad.

But Akhilesh denied party poll tickets to the Ansari brothers after he took over the SP early this month.

Four-time chief minister Mayawati, looking to win Muslim votes to regain power in the state, was more than willing to accommodate the QED.

She has fielded nearly 100 candidates from the religious minority and is seeking to forge a Dalit-Muslim combine to edge out the BJP and a SP-Congress alliance, who are key players along with the BSP when the state votes for a new government this February and March.

Unlike Mukhtar, his son Abbas and brother Afzal have no criminal record.

Afzal, a former parliamentarian, announced the merger and accused SP national president Akhilesh Yadav of betrayal. He also called him “anti-Muslim”.

Afzal had earlier described SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav as the hope of the minorities.

Mukhtar will contest on a BSP ticket from the Mau Cantonment seat, which he won in 2012.

Abbas will make his electoral debut from Ghosi, while Afzal will take on the murdered BJP legislator widow, Alka Rai, in Mohammadabad.

Mayawati defended Mukhtar, saying nothing has been proved against him in the BJP MLA’s murder.

“I have been told that Mukhtar was already in jail at the time of Rai’s murder. How could someone murder anyone from behind the bars?” she asked.

She said nothing has been proved against him “despite the case being in court for so many years”.

The BSP chief scoffed at suggestions that the merger could dilute her image of a politician tough on criminals.

“Why don’t you see other parties who have so many criminals?” she shot back.

She then explained that her party won’t take politicians Atiq Ahmad, DP Yadav, Dhananjay Singh, Ramakant and Umakant Yadav who have a dubious criminal past.

Mukhtar is one of the founder members of the QED.