In view of the upcoming assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) made a big announcement on 10 September, declaring that it has decided to cancel the ticket of its seasoned MLA Mukhtar Ansari from the Mau constituency. In his place, the party’s state president Bhim Rajbhar will be fielded as the party’s Mau candidate.
No More ‘Anti-Social’ Elements
In a tweet, BSP supremo Mayawati said that "BSP would be working to ensure that no one with a criminal record or associations with the mafia is given a ticket to the upcoming assembly elections. In view of this, Mr. Mukhtar Ansari has been replaced by UP BSP State President Mr. Bhim Rajbhar as the final candidate to contest for the Mau assembly seat."
"BSP’s resolve is to transform the image of UP by enforcing the legal rule of law, so that every child in every other state of the nation would wish for a government just like Behenji’s 'just and fair' (sarvajan hitay, sarvajan sukhay) government. At the same time, the BSP also does what it says, and this is the true identity of the party,” tweeted the BSP supremo.
From ‘Messiah Of poor’ To ‘Mafia’
In 2019, the BSP had given Mukhtar Ansari’s brother, Afzal Ansari, the party’s ticket to fight the Lok Sabha elections from the Ghazipur constituency. Afzal had gone on to defeat BJP candidate, and current J&K Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha, from the seat. In fact, BSP chief Mayawati is on record calling Mukhtar Ansari a “messiah of the poor”.
Mukhtar Ansari was earlier allied with the BSP but by the latter half of the 2000s, joined the BSP. He was expelled from the BSP in 2010. Following this, he formed his own party, the Quami Ekta Dal. Eventually, he merged the Quami Ekta Dal with the BSP in 2017.
Mukhtar’s grandfather had served as the president of the Indian National Congress pre-Independence. His maternal grandfather was Brigadier Usman, a Mahavir Chakra winner and hero of the Indian Army’s fightback at Nowshera, in 1948.
Mukhtar Ansari is also the nephew of former two-time vice-president of India, Mohammed Hamid Ansari.
Ansari — A Five-Time MLA
Mukhtar Ansari, a history-sheeter, is BSP’s MLA from UP’s Mau constituency of eastern Uttar Pradesh. Ansari has 38 cases lodged against him at the Ghazipur Police Station in UP and many in Lucknow and Mau. He is also accused in the murder of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Krishnananda Rai.
Ansari has been holding the Mau assembly seat since 1996. He has won the Mau seat two times on BSP’s ticket, once from the Qaumi Ekta Dal, and once as an independent candidate. Ansari has managed to garner both direct and indirect support from parties such as the Samajwadi Party as well as the Congress.
Despite changing parties and criminal records, Mukhtar's political clout remained intact for quite long. The gangster's fortune dwindled only recently with the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government’s crackdown on the mafias in the state.
The Rajbhar Card
Mukhtar’s replacement Bhim Rajbhar is the current state president of the BSP in Uttar Pradesh. He has been the district president of Mau BSP and has also been the zonal coordinator of Azamgarh division. Rajbhar hails from Mau district itself, and is widely known as a leader of the backward castes in eastern UP.
It is noteworthy that Bhim Rajbhar has a foothold in the Rajbhar society. Given the centrality of the backward caste votes in the electoral math of eastern UP, the votes of the Rajbhar community, which make up about 3 per cent of UP electorate but have a presence in nearly 125 assembly seats are considered decisive for electoral gains in Purvanchal.
Image-Makeover: Rinsing Off The Black Ink
Mayawati asserted that the decision, taken to live up to the people's expectations, needs to be executed so that no issues arise during the party's attempt to address anti-social elements within the party.
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