Mayawati admits ‘lesser goon’ Mukhtar Ansari into BSP

Lucknow, (IANS) : Mafia don turned politician Mukhtar Ansari on Thursday joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) along with his son and brother ahead of the seven-phase Uttar Pradesh assembly elections to be held between February 4 and March 8.

Declaring that Ansari had “lost his way and needed help”, former Chief Minister and BSP chief Mayawati brushed aside his criminal track record by saying “there were bigger goons in other parties”.

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While sitting legislator Mukhtar Ansari will contest the Mau seat in eastern Uttar Pradesh, son Abbas will contest from Ghosi and Mukhtar’s brother Sibagatullah will be BSP candidate from Mohammadabad.

The merger of Ansari’s Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED) had stirred a controversy in the ruling Samajwadi Party last year when then party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav okayed Ansari’s entry into the party, which Mulayam’s Chief Minister son, Akhilesh Yadav, bitterly opposed.

The Ansaris have considerable political clout among the weavers in eastern parts of the state and hold sway over more than a dozen assembly seats.

BSP sources say that the move of Mayawati, despite attacking Akhilesh for poor law and order and spiralling crime in Uttar Pradesh, comes after the SP stitched up an alliance with the Congress.

In her bid to woo the minority voters, the BSP supremo admitted the Ansaris as she feared her party’s Muslim vote could shift to the SP-Congress camp.