A row of photographs in Mukhtar Ansari's ancestral house in Yusufpur Mohammadabad tells a sad tale of a family that fought for country's freedom and is now facing criminal charges.
Pointing to the fading photographs of three young boys along with other members of their illustrious family, Mukhtar's eldest brother Shivag Tullah says sadly, "AK 47 was first used here in an attack on Afzal Ansari's supporters in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections in which these three youngsters were killed." Sadly since then AK 47 has continued to shatter the peace of the area. While Mukhtar, his MP brother Afzal and two other family members are in jail in connection with Krishnanand Rai's murder case (a close aide of Brajesh Singh), Shivag Tullah is holding the show all alone.
Women have been shifted to the state capital. When asked about people's demand to field Afsana, Mukhtar's wife, in this election, he sadly quipped, "Our women don't take part in politics. They are taking care of the kids and their education. But if this type of injustice continued, then may be! jaisa waqt hoga waisa karenge (we will do as per the need of the hour)." Shivag Tullah claims the ongoing battle is purely political. "It sparked off after Afzal defeated the BJP nominee in the 1994 Lok Sabha elections. They falsely implicated my brothers in the murder of BJP MLA Krishnand Rai to alienate them from the voters."
The intensity of their fight for supremacy in the area can be gauged from the fact that a political Shivag Tullah is now contesting his maiden election from Mohammadabad constituency on the SP ticket. He is facing Rai's widow, Alka Rai of the BJP. Temperatures are bound to soar on either side.
Despite the long list of criminal cases and his incarceration, a majority of Muslims refuse to admit that Mukhtar was a mafia don. His supporters call him "Mau ki shaan", and "Mau ka Hatimtai", while his opponents are hunting for his alternative.
Few like Arshad Jamar, former Nagar Palika chairman say, "He has a team of 500 boys, whom he pays Rs 100 each to spread rumours. The latest in the air is "Agar har gaye to Muslim ka jina mushkil ho jaayega" (if he will lose Muslims will face a tough time). He claims that some Muslims were now holding Mukhtar responsible for Mau's sufferings. The majority community prefers silence as in a shrewd move Mukhtar has set up 20 caste-based committees to work for the elections. According to him Mukhtar's poll manager Mujahid was brazenly telling young boys to "Mukhtar bano aur kaam karo."
Grapevine has it that Mukhtar's rivalry with Brajesh Singh's family dates back to his college days. Mukhtar was very fond of cricket and one of his friends (people can't recall the name), who had some tussle with Singh's family, was killed during the game, triggering off an unending rivalry in the region. Now it has spread to the political arena too.