UP strongmen jostle for ‘political space’ in Lok Sabha polls; approach parties for tickets

The political parties have been bestowing the status of ‘politician’ on the criminals and mafia dons nonchalantly by giving them a comfortable political space eying their money and muscle power.

Published: 28th January 2019 09:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2019 10:31 PM   |  A+A-


2019 Lok Sabha polls (Illustration | Amit Bandre)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: When political parties in UP are busy striking alliances and working outcaste equations vis-a-vis upcoming Lok Sabha elections, mafia dons and history-sheeters have also got into poll mode
approaching various parties to get a ticket to the big battle of ballots.

In fact, the political parties have been bestowing the status of ‘politician’ on the criminals and mafia dons nonchalantly by giving them a comfortable political space eying their money and muscle power which often becomes handy in winning elections.

ALSO READ | Congress decides, Rahul Gandhi will not share stage with Bihar’s don-turned-MLA Anant Singh

With the Lok Sabha polls inching closer, these gangsters-turned-politicians, some incarcerated and some out on bail, have started exploring poll arena yet again. While a few are allegedly gravitating
towards the BSP seeking ticket sensing brighter chances of victory as alliance candidate, some are exploring new equations with outfits like Jansatta Party having taken shape recently.

Jansatta Party has been launched by sitting independent MLA from Kunda RaghurajPratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya, who has his lineage to the royal family of Bhadri estate near Pratapgrah in Oudh region.
Launching his own party, Raja Bhaiyya is now planning to field his candidates on several seats across UP in upcoming LS polls.

Dhananjay Singh, a former BSP MP, who had been a BSP MP from Jaunpur in 2009 but was later expelled for anti-party activities, is believed to be in contact with BSP leadership yet again for a ticket.
He is also in touch with BJP and Jansatta Party leaders. Dhananjay had fought as an independent candidate from Jaunpur in 2014 but lost.

The former MP has cases of murder and rape against him. Not only Dhananjay but also his contemporary and sharing the same fiefdom, mafia don Umakant Yadav, with influence in Jaunpur-Azamgarh region is seeking BSP ticket from the same belt of eastern UP. He had switched sides from the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to BSP last year.

Similarly,  Mukhtar Ansari, mafia- turned-politician and a sitting BSP MLA from Mau may contest for Lok Sabha on a BSP ticket. Now in Ropar jail in Punjab on charges of extortion from a Mohali
businessman, earlier Ansari was in Banda jail in connection with the murder of BJP’s prominent leader of Purvanchal Krishnand Rai.

Ansari has 45 cases of murder, kidnapping and extortion against him.
Ahead of the 2017 assembly election, Ansari had merged his Quami Ekta Dal (QED) with
BSP. “While Mukhtar’s sibling Afzal Ansari, may contest from Ghazipur, uncertainly looms over his (Mukhtar) fate as Behenji is still in the process of finalising tickets,” said a senior BSP leader seeking anonymity.

While announcing QED’s merger with BSP, BSP chief Mayawati had then accused political rivals (read SP chief Akhilesh Yadav) of maligning the image of Ansari family by framing them in “false cases."
Notably, in June last year, QED had announced merger with SP in presence of Shivpal Yadav, the then state unit president of the party. However, the move was opposed by Akhilesh and it led to a major fight between him and his uncle Shivpal, culminating in a split in the party before they got back just in nick of time for the assembly polls.

Former strongman of Gorakhpur region and a dreaded mafia don Hari Shankar Tiwari, who had been a minister in respective BJP and BSP governments is believed to be in touch with with Maywati seeking ticket for his son Kushal from Sant Kabir Nagar. Other musclemen, especially, of western UP like Haji Mohammad Yakub, DP Yadav, Narendra Bhati, Kadir Rana, are also making all out efforts to get a ticket from BSP.

A recent meeting between newly launched Jansatta Party leader Akhshay Pratap Singhand mafia don-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad has also triggered speculations. Atiq Ahmad, now lodged in Bareilly jail with a number of murder and extortion cases pending against him, may contest as Jansatta Party candidate from Prayagraj.

The speculations to this effect were triggered when  Akshya Pratap Singh, kin and close confidante of Raja Bhaiyya, met the don in jail recently. Atiq had contested 2014 Lok Sabha elections on SP ticket from Shrawasti but lost. Muscleman Rizwan Zaheer may contest from Shrawasti as a Congress candidate. He had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on a Peace Party ticket but faced the drubbing.
History-sheeter and extortionist Bal Kumar Patel, brother of dacoit Dadua, is vying for a Samajwadi Party ticket from Banda in Bundelkhand.

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