Muslim tactical votes gain spotlight after Mukhtar Ansari’s death

Abbas Bin Mukhtar Ansari with Akhilesh Yadav (Image credit X @AbbasAnsari__

Abbas Bin Mukhtar Ansari with Akhilesh Yadav (Image credit X @AbbasAnsari__

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Mayawati, Akhilesh stoke conspiracy theories in Mukhtar Ansari death

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, March 30: Former Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav sought probe into circumstances leading to death of jailed gangster Mukhtar Ansari. The chiefs of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) almost competed to be the first to smell conspiracy into the death of the yesteryear’s don.

Mukhtar Ansari had been a Uttar Pradesh legislator for more than two decades. He won Assembly elections on three occasions on the symbol of the BSP. His dread in the region is now a folklore. Police accounts claim that the body of former Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Krishnanad Rai was ridden with hundreds of bullets.

The BSP chief Mayawati said: “The continuous apprehensions and serious allegations made by Mukhtar Ansari’s family regarding his death in jail require a high-level investigation.” Mayawati reasoned: “Probe will reveal true facts of his death”. She empathized with the family of the don. She said: “It is natural for his family to be sad; May nature give them the strength to bear this sorrow.”

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A Ghazipur court convicted Mukhtar Ansari for the murder of Rai. Wife of Rai yesterday offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi. Reign of terror of Mukhtar Ansari ran in the region of Mau-Ghazipur.

Mayawati had earned sobriquet of an ‘Iron Lady’ during her stint as chief minister. Her name to fame was for no-nonsense approach to the issue of the law and order. But she was lenient on Mukhtar Ansari. He joined the BSP. Mayawati’s argument was that allegations against the don had not been proved.

Mukhtar Ansari’s alter ego Atiq Ahmed held fort in Prayagraj, formerly Allahabad. Both allegedly grabbed properties worth thousands of crores. The tribe of Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmed mushroomed all through Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Mohammed Shahabuddin, Mohammed Taslimuddin, Anand Mohan Singh and Pappu Yadav ran their crime empires in parts of Bihar. They were all given the tag of Robin Hood by a section of the media.

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Akhilesh Yadav said: “It is the first responsibility and duty of the government to protect someone’s life in every situation and at every place. The death of a hostage or prisoner in any of the following circumstances will erode public confidence in the judicial process: While confined in the police station; in a fight inside the jail; ⁠on falling ill inside the jail; while being taken to court; while being taken to the hospital; during treatment in hospital; by showing false encounter; by pretending to commit suicide; and by showing casualties in an accident.”

Akhilesh Yadav gave an exhaustive account of ways in which someone could be eliminated by the state. The SP chief had attended a grand marriage ceremony of the daughter of Afzal Ansari, the Lok Sabha MP from Ghazipur. Afzal Ansari had won the 2019 election on the BSP ticket. He recently joined the SP.

The SP and the BSP are competing for the tactical Muslim vote base in Uttar Pradesh. The Muslim vote base in Uttar Pradesh accounts for 18 per cent of the total electorate.

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The tactical voting by Muslims has been a norm in Uttar Pradesh for several decades. They demonstrated their strength by withstanding the Narendra Modi wave in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to help elect six Muslim MPs. This was a remarkable improvement from the tally of one in 2014.

Yashovardhan Jha Azad, former special director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), in a long post on X, said: “Mukhtar Ansari’s death was discussed on a number of channels yesterday amidst wild allegations from both sides. In reality it’s a reflection of our polity that dreaded gangsters/mafia are glorified in parts of our country. They prosper under benign dispensations.”

The former IPS officer argued that “Mukhtar crimes were overlooked as he became a warlord”. “Any incident relating to such men is politicised or communalised,” added Azad.

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