Uttar pradesh

U.P. Assembly elections | Jailed MLA Mukhtar Ansari’s son Abbas takes over mantle of Mau

Mukhtar Ansari’s 30-year-old son Abbas Ansari is the official candidate of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, an ally of the Samajwadi Party, from Mau. File

Mukhtar Ansari’s 30-year-old son Abbas Ansari is the official candidate of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, an ally of the Samajwadi Party, from Mau. File | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

Not jailed MLA Mukhtar Ansari but his 30-year-old son Abbas Ansari will contest from Mau constituency this election marking a generation shift in the politics of the family which has been at the top of the radar of the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government over the past five years.  “Baap aur bete mein kya fark hain [What’s the difference between father and son],” asked Mr. Abbas after he filed his nomination on Monday. Mau is a small district abutting Azamgarh known for its textile and weavers. Mr. Mukhtar, who has a tainted image and faced several criminal charges in his career, has represented the Mau Sadar constituency as MLA five times since 1996. In 2017, he contested as a BSP candidate. But this time Mr. Abbas is the official candidate of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, an ally of the Samajwadi Party. When reporters asked him why his father, who is lodged in jail, did not file his nomination, Mr. Abbas, donning a yellow scarf of the SBSP, said, “You should ask the government and administration about this.” While Mr. Abbas sports a twirled up moustache just like his father, he enjoys a clean image with no serious charges against him and is a former sportsperson. Mr. Abbas, who has studied business management, was a member of the Indian shooting team and was among the top 10 skit shooters, winning acclaim in two subsequent world cups — Germany and Finland. He secured his first national championship in 2011 in shotgun category and missed out a berth in the Rio Olympics after he met with an accident in 2014 which kept him out of practice for a year. He was one of the few shooters who excel in all three categories — big bore skit, rifle and pistol. With this background, he made his political debut in 2017 on a BSP symbol from Ghosi constituency in Mau but lost by a thin margin to Fagu Chauhan, BJP’s candidate and former Minister who later was appointed the Governor of Bihar. The BJP was then also supported by the SBSP, which has clout among the Rajbhars, a community found in good numbers in the district and the adjoining region. This time senior OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan, who quit the BJP Cabinet, has been fielded by the SP from Ghosi. While the Ansari family has accused the U.P. administration of using intimidation tactics to deter Mr. Mukhtar from contesting the election, sources close to him said it was also a decision taken to jumpstart the career of his son. “This was the right time to hand over the virasat [heritage] to his son,” said a close family source of the jailed MLA. Mr. Mukhtar is not just any other Opposition MLA but has been an important part of the ruling BJP’s election campaign and the mascot of the advertisement of law and order management by the Yogi Adityanath government. In his rallies, Union Home Minister Amit Shah regularly refers to the trio of Azam Khan, Atiq Ahmad and Mukhtar Ansari, all three jailed Muslim leaders, to state that if the SP returns to power they would be out of jail. The BJP government has often projected the alleged highhanded treatment of Mr. Mukhtar as one of its biggest achievements against the ‘mafia.’ The BJP government has regularly flaunted that it has demolished or seized the property worth over ₹1,500 crore of alleged mafia dons and criminals as part of its drive against organised crime. And action against the Ansari family has been on the top of the list. The SP and the Ansari family have accused the BJP government of misusing authority and targeting opponents with bulldozers and fake cases.  Last year, the U.P. police said 244 members linked to Mr. Mukhtar, whom they have designated as a ‘gangster’, were arrested and property or land worth ₹194 crore was seized, demolished or freed from “illegal occupation” of the “Mukhtar Ansari gang.” The police also arrested 158 persons linked to him and lodged 102 cases and seized or cancelled 122 weapon licences. While 110 of them were booked under the Gangsters Act, 30 were booked under the Goondas Act, six under the NSA and 37 were added to the history-sheeter list. Mr. Ansari’s brother Sibgatullah Ansari, former MLA, is contesting again from Mohammadabad seat in Ghazipur which he lost in 2017. Afzal Ansari, his second brother, is the Lok Sabha MP from Ghazipur. Mr. Ansari had 52 FIRs lodged against him, of which 16 are sub judice, said the police last year. These included five cases of attempt to murder and murder each, as per his last election affidavit.   The most sensational crime associated with him was the murder of BJP MLA Krishanand Rai in 2005. Rai’s widow Alka Rai defeated Mr. Sibgatullah in 2017 in Mohammadabad. In 2019, a special CBI court in Delhi acquitted Mr. Mukhtar and seven others in the murder case.

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Printable version | Feb 15, 2022 10:33:05 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/uttar-pradesh-assembly/up-assembly-elections-jailed-mla-mukhtar-ansaris-son-abbas-takes-over-mantle-of-mau/article65052083.ece