Uttar Pradesh strongman Mukhtar Ansari on Thursday joined the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and was declared its candidate from Mau Sadar Assembly constituency.
Ansari's party Quami Ekta Dal (QED), whose merger with Samajwadi Party last year had triggered turmoil in that party, merged with the BSP.
Announcing the merger of his party in presence of Mayawati here, QED president Afzal Ansari, Mukhtar's brother, attacked Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, describing him as "anti-muslim and a betrayer".
Mukhtar's son Abbas Ansari has been given ticket from Ghosi while his brother Sibakatullah Ansari is BSP’s candidate from Mohammadabad.
Defending her decision to include a gangster in the party, Mayawati claimed that all criminal cases against Mukhtar are "false".
"The charges on him have not been proved, considering this, he is being re-inducted in the party," Mayawati said.
Mukhtar won his first Assembly election in 1996 as a candidate of the BSP, and the next two (2002 and 2007) as an independent. In 2007, he joined BSP and unsuccessfully contested the 2009 Lok Sabha election.
After BSP expelled him in 2010 for criminal activities, he formed his own party Quami Ekta Dal (QED) with his brothers. He won from the Mau seat as a QED candidate in 2012 Assembly polls.
Mukhtar, the mafia-turned-politician from eastern UP, was overlooked by Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in his list of candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections. Last year QED had merged with the SP.
Mayawati, while claiming that the image of the Ansari family was being "maligned" by political rivals by framing them in "false cases."
"They (Ansaris) were earlier in BSP and contested polls with our tickets but left under pressure from Samajwadi Party," Mayawati said.
On the occasion, Afzal said, "The Ansaris will expose Akhilesh and work to strengthen BSP."
Mukhtar is a sitting MLA from Mau, but Akhilesh chose to hand a ticket to Altaf Ansari who had unsuccessfully contested the previous polls against him.
Interestingly, Sibagatullah Ansari, who had signed a petition in favour of declaring Akhilesh as the SP supremo, was also denied an SP ticket. The SP gave his seat -- Mohammadabad -- to its ally Congress.
In June last year, QED had announced merger with Samajwadi Party in presence of Shivpal Yadav, the then state unit president of the party. However, that was cancelled soon after as Akhilesh vehemently opposed the move. This led to a major fight between Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal, finally culminating in split in the party.