IF GIVEN a ticket by SP, jailed mafia-turned-politician and Quami Ekta Dal MLA from Mau, Mukhtar Ansari, would contest the UP Assembly polls next year, his brother and QED president Afzal Ansari said on Saturday. Afzal on Saturday met SP national chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and state president Shivpal Yadav in Lucknow.
Three months after the merger of QED with the SP was called off, Shivpal on Thursday had again announced the merger of the two parties. He had said the decision was endorsed by Mulayam. On June 21, Shivpal had announced the merger of the two parties in Afzal’s presence. But days later, the SP national parliamentary board called off the decision, following stiff objection from Akhilesh Yadav over the association with Mukhtar.
When contacted, Afzal said: “When this announcement (merger on October 6) was made, I was admitted in the hospital. After recovering from fever, I contacted Neta ji today who called me at the party state headquarters.” About Mukhtar’s status in SP, Afzal said: “All the public representatives and workers of QED are now in SP.” On Mukhtar’s candidature in the 2017 elections, Afzal said: “If the party gives him a ticket, Mukhtar will contest as a SP candidate… We all will contest unitedly to prevent division of secular votes.”
He also underlined that Mukhtar is a four-time MLA and Mulayam was aware of the ground situation. Afzal said Mulayam has accepted his invitation to take part in a joint rally with Afzal in Mohammadabad Assembly segment of Ghazipur next month. Asked whether Akhilesh has also been invited, Afzal said: “When party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav ji is invited, then entire party is invited.”
On Akhilesh opposing the merger in the past, Afzal said: “That is history now. At present, all leaders are convinced.” Sources said the SP top leadership agreed to the merger to prevent loss of Muslim votes, as the Ansari brothers have a considerable hold on Muslim voters in Ghazipur and adjoining districts of eastern UP.