Mukhtar Ansari not to contest against Narendra Modi in Varanasi

Mukhtar Ansari, who gave a tough fight to BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi in Varanasi in 2009 Lok Sabha election, has decided not to contest against Narendra Modi from the seat “to avoid division of secular votes”.

Quami Ekta Dal’s Ansari, a gangster-turned-politician and four-time MLA from Mau, is currently lodged in Agra jail in the BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai murder case.

“A decision in this regard has been taken at the meeting of Quami Ekta Dal,” Mukhtar’s brother Afzal Ansari told PTI today.

The step has been taken “to strengthen secular forces and avoid division of votes”, he added.

“We will discuss our future course of action later. Now SP, BSP and AAP have to decide how to defeat Modi,” he said, adding the party had earlier written to all “secular parties” to join hands to defeat the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate.

Mukhter, who contested the last Lok Sabha polls on a BSP ticket, lost by a slender margin of 17,000 votes to Joshi.

Later, he was expelled from BSP and formed the Quami Ekta Dal in 2010.