Its official,now. Don-turned-MLA Mukhtar Ansari is Bahujan Samaj Partys nominee for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat. He has been pitted against BJPs stalwart Murli Manohar Joshi.
At a rally in Varanasi on Sunday,the BSP announced Ansaris name in the presence of the partys Muslim face and state PWD minister Nasimuddin Siddiquee. Ansaris brothers Afzal Ansari,BSPs candidate from Ghazipur,and Sibgatullah Ansari,Samajwadi Party MLA were also present at the rally.
Mukhtar,who is currently in jail in connection with the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai,represents Mau seat in the state Assembly as an Independent. His adoption by the BSP shows its desperation to woo Muslim voters.
At the rally,Nasimuddin said the BJP,Congress and the SP were all alike. The Congress got the lock of the Babri Masjid opened,the BJP made the Babri Masjid an issue and got it demolished,while Mulayam Singh made a BJP leader Speaker of the Assembly,he said.
A letter that Ansari has written from the jail was also read by his brother Agzal at the rally. In the letter,Ansari emphasised on the Ganga-Jamuni culture of eastern UP and how he ensured 24-hour power supply for Ghazipur city during the Mulayam regime.
BSP sources said the party had chosen Ansari as its candidate as the Congress and the BJP have both selected Brahmin candidates.
There was no point fielding a third Brahmin. Ansari will be an aggressive Muslim candidate. The division of the Brahmin vote and the support of the backward will help him,sources said.
Many see it as a tacit understanding between the BJP and the BSP. Ansaris presence in the fray may lead to polarisation of voters on communal line and this would only benefit Joshi,it is argued.