Mukhtar’s party merges with BSP, gets 3 tickets Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati announced the merger of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari's Quami Ekta Dal (QED) with her party and gave tickets to him and two of his family members on Thursday, a move that underlines her desperation to woo the minority vote. With this, the total number of tickets BSP has given to Muslimsin the assembly elections has gone up to 99, the highest ever given to the minority community by a mainstream party in Uttar Pradesh's political history. Mayawati emphasised that her party was committed for the interests of the minorities and would stand by them. Muslims account for roughly 19% of UP's population and dalits, Mayawati's core votebank, account for 21%. However, Muslims have got a much bigger pie of BSP tickets compared to dalits, who have got only 87.
This is the third time when party-hopping Ansaris have joined BSP. In October last year, they had tried to merge QED with Samajwadi Party (SP) with the help of then UP SP president Shivpal Yadav, an act which further fuelled the infighting within the Yadav family.
Announcing the merger at an unscheduled press conference at her residence, Mayawati said Mukhtar was a victim of political vendetta and conspiracy hatched by SP. Ansari, who is currently lodged in jail, is an accused in the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai in 2005. Mayawati said Mukhtar's involvement in the case is yet to be established in a court of law.
She said BSP always supported people who had been "wrongly framed". "DP Yadav, Raja Bhaiyya, Atiq Ahmad, Brijesh Singh and Ramakant Yadav....they are hard core criminals and are either with SP or BJP. They would never be taken into BSP," she said. Soon after announcing the merger, Mayawati declared Mukhtar as BSP candidate from Mau. His son Abbas Ansari and brother Sigbatullah Ansari were given tickets from Ghosi and Mohammadabad, respectively. By accommodating Ansaris, BSP has withdrawn the tickets announced earlier: Wasim Iqbal (Ghosi), Vinod Kumar Rai (Mohammadabad) and Manoj Rai (Mau).
QED chief and Mukhtar's brother Afzal Ansari said he decided for a merger with BSP after realising that "only Mayawati can stop BJP from coming to power". He said his negotiations with SP failed despite giving support to the ruling party. "I was told by Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) that (UP CM) Akhileshji does not like Muslims," Ansari added. Mukhtar won his first assembly election as a BSP candidate in 1996, and the next two as an independent. He later defected to SP but returned to BSP along with Afzal just before the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Mukhtar formed QED after BSP expelled him in 2010 for criminal activities. He won from the Mau seat in 2012 assembly elections.
The Ansari brothers are said to wield considerable influence in parts of eastern UP districts of Mau, Ghazipur, Ballia and Varanasi.