Uttar Pradesh don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari has engaged 12 priests for a special nine-day religious exercise to knock on the doors of goddess Durga.
Ansari, who won the Mau assembly seat in eastern UP in 2007 as an independent candidate, is lodged in Agra jail now on the charges of killing Avdhesh Rai, brother of Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ajai Rai, on August 3, 1991 and a BJP MLA, Krishnanand Rai, on November 29, 2005.
But Ansari’s fortunes have of late taken a bigger hit, following the unexpectedly cold vibes emanating from Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and the resurfacing of his rival Brajesh Singh, who was once believed to be dead but was later arrested in Bhubaneswar.
While Singh, now lodged in Varanasi Central Jail, is likely to contest the Lok Sabha polls, Ansari’s other sworn enemy and Dawood gang member Subhash Thakur is at present lodged in the same Agra jail – a definite threat to his life.
A group of 12 priests began the exercise on Sunday at Vindhyachal in Mirzapur district. Hailing from Vrindavan, Mirzapur and Ghazipur, the priests began the rituals at an undisclosed location near the Vindhyavasini temple at Vindyachal.
The special offering was from Ansari’s wife Afsa Ansari and son Ashwaq Ansari, according to a priest, Ramu Guru, who has been associated with the Ansari clan for over two decades.
Banshidhar Shastri, heading the priests from Vrindavan, said he had organised another offering from Ansari a week ago.
Head priest of Vidhyavasini temple Vishwa Mohan Mishra said he had led similar exercises for the safety of Ansari’s rival Brajesh Singh too, besides people like former UP minister Harishankar Tiwari, former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Digvijay Singh and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.