The BSP on Sunday announced its fourth and final list of 16 candidates, mainly from eastern Uttar Pradesh constituencies. Among the significant announcements is the party’s decision to field Afzal Ansari, former MP and brother of jailed gangster-turned-MLA Mukhtar Ansari, from Ghazipur.
Mukhtar is in Lucknow district jail since 2005 on various charges. Afzal and Mukhtar have been with the SP and then BSP before floating their own party. Mukhtar and Afzal floated their own party — Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED) — before the 2012 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. In 2016, the QED merged with SP but the merger was cancelled by then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav following questions over Mukhtar’s criminal background.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, Mukhtar, his son Abbas and brother Sibgatullah contested on BSP tickets from Mau’s Sadar and Ghosi seats and Ghazipur’s Mohammadabad constituency, respectively.
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From Sultanpur, the BSP has fielded history-sheeter and former MLA Chandra Bhadra Singh alias Sonu Singh, who would contest against BJP candidate and Union minister Maneka Gandhi.
In Pratapgarh, the BSP has fielded Ashok Tripathi, who last contested the 2017 state polls from Pratapgarh Sadar on a BSP ticket but lost. In Ambedkar Nagar, the party has fielded Ritesh Pandey, MLA from Jalalpur. The party has given ticket in Shrawasti to its Ambedkar Nagar district president Ram Shiromani Verma.