Mukhtar Ansari to contest on SBSP ticket, claims Rajbhar

Lucknow: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA and jailed mafia don Mukhtar Ansari will be contesting the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections on the ticket of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP).

SBSP president Om Prakash Rajbhar, who has recently met Mukhtar in Banda jail where the latter is lodged, said, “I have offered a ticket to Mukhtar. It is now up to him to decide whether he wants to contest as SBSP candidate or as an independent. Either way, I will support him.”

Asked whether his ally, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, would agree to bringing Mukhtar Ansari into the fold since it was mainly because of the mafia don that the differences between Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal had come out in the open in 2016, Rajbhar said, “If Akhilesh can mend fences with Mayawati then why not Mukhtar. In any case, Mukhtar will be from my party, not SP.”

Rajbhar is apparently eyeing Muslim support in Purvanchal region by bringing Mukhtar into his party fold. Mukhtar and his brothers wield considerable influence in eastern Uttar Pradesh district, including Ghazipur, Mau, Azamgarh, Ballia, Deoria, etc.

Mukhtar Ansari has been in jail since 2005 and has won three Assembly elections from behind the bars.

He has been targeted, in particular, by the Yogi Adityanath government that has gone into an overdrive to demolish his economic empire in the state.