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Will Mayawati’s Mukhtar gamble get her Muslim vote?

By inducting Mukhtar and his family in BSP, Mayawati plans to counter Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance bid to woo the Backwards and Muslims to regain power. It is a proven fact that the QED has influence in pockets of East UP, particularly the districts that have substantial Muslim population like Mau, Azamgarh, Varanasi and Ballia.

lucknow Updated: Feb 28, 2017 01:39 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh 
BSP national president Mayawati, general secretary SC Mishra, general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui, QED leader Afzal Ansari, Abbas Ansari, Sibgatulla Ansari and retired high court judge, Sabhajeet Singh Yadav in Lucknow on Thursday.
BSP national president Mayawati, general secretary SC Mishra, general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui, QED leader Afzal Ansari, Abbas Ansari, Sibgatulla Ansari and retired high court judge, Sabhajeet Singh Yadav in Lucknow on Thursday.(HT Photo)

The merger of Quami Ekta Dal (QED), led by gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, into the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has given a fresh twist to the fight for Muslims vote among political parties in Poorvanchal region.

By inducting Mukhtar and his family in BSP, Mayawati plans to counter Samajwadi Party (SP)-Congress alliance bid to woo the Backwards and Muslims to regain power. It is a proven fact that the QED has influence in pockets of East UP, particularly the districts that have substantial Muslim population like Mau, Azamgarh, Varanasi and Ballia.

With QED support, BSP hopes that it can make inroads into SP Muslim vote bank.

Announcing merger of QED, Mayawati on Thursday gave Mukhtar, who is lodged in jail, the ticket to contest from Mau assembly seat, his son Abbas from Ghosi and elder brother Sibgatulla from Mohammadabad seat in Ghazipur district.

While BSP may go on to win these 3 seats, there could be implications of the move on other districts.

“By joining hands with Mukhtar, a well-known gangster of the Purvanchal region, Mayawati has taken a political gamble. Her image of a strict administrator who does not compromise with criminal elements for power is sure to take a beat,” says Mohammad Usman, a teacher in Azamgarh PG College.

“Her main election plank was to get rid of the jungle raj and goodaraj promoted by SP government,” says Usman while recalling: “She showcased that her government’s achievement was taking strict action against the Mafiosi and gangsters. With Mukhtar on her side she cannot target Akhilesh Yadav over lawlessness under the SP government.”

Read more: Mayawati’s Mukhtar gain is SP’s loss

“To grab power, Mayawati is working purely on caste and community arithmetic. The jungle raj and goondaraj are mere rhetoric to counter SP,” says RK Gautam, a political observer.

For over a year, she has been working meticulously on Dalit- Muslim coalition to grab power.

BSP has already given ticket to 97 Muslims and with Ansari’s on board the number of Muslim candidates have increased to 100. “But, the SP-Congress alliance seemed to undo her effort and in desperation Mayawati has merged QED with her party,” he said.

Apart from Ansaris, Mayawati has fielded a Muslim-Buzmi Siddiqui on Ayodhya seat that has been projected by BJP as symbol of Hindu resurgence.

The BSP plans to cut into SP-Congress vote bank with muscle power and influence of Ansaris. “In 2012 assembly elections, SP won maximum seats in East UP and we plan to halt Akhilesh victory march with rallying support of Muslims and Dalits,” said BSP state unit president Ramachal Rajbhar.

To defend her Mukhtar move, Mayawati said, “The criminal charges against Mukhtar are politically motivated and unproven. Ansaris joined BSP in 2009 and contested Lok Sabha election. Later they moved to SP due to the pressure.”

Terming Akhilesh as anti-Muslim, Afzal Ansari, brother of Mukhtar and national president of QED, said the chief minister insulted them by annulling the merger of QED with SP. “We will teach SP a lesson in the assembly election,” he said.

Read more: Uttar Pradesh elections: Mukhtar Ansari joins BSP, to contest from Mau