The maximum damage the Samajwadi Party is likely to suffer in eastern UP is due to the Ansari brothers.
Lucknow: Rebel candidates are all set to pose a serious threat to the ruling Samajwadi Party in the remaining two poll phases in Uttar Pradesh. Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who is now campaigning intensively along with his wife Dimple Yadav to increase his party’s tally and battle the anti-incumbency factor against his government, will face major roadblocks in eastern UP.
Akhilesh Yadav denied tickets to a number of senior leaders who professed their loyalty to either his father Mulayam Singh Yadav or his uncle Shivpal in the recent family feud. These leaders are now contesting against official SP nominees, and what is adding to the problem is that a large section of grassroots party workers have joined hands with these rebel leaders.
In Ballia district, senior SP leaders Ambica Chaudhary and Narad Rai, both former Cabinet ministers, were denied tickets by the new SP leadership. Both have joined the BSP and are now BSP candidates from their respective seats.
“Both these leaders have been with Mulayam Singh Yadav for the past several decades and party cadres are naturally loyal to them. The new SP candidates are finding it difficult to compete with these veterans”, a local party worker admitted.
The maximum damage the Samajwadi Party is likely to suffer in eastern UP is due to the Ansari brothers. Mafia don Mukhtar Ansari, and his brothers Afzal and Sigbatullah Ansari, were insulted twice by the SP when Mulayam Singh Yadav approved the merger of their Qaumi Ekta Dal but Akhilesh Yadav rejected it.
The BSP welcomed the Ansari brothers into its fold and gave tickets to Mukhtar Ansari from Mau, his son Abbas Ansari from Ghosi and his brother Sigbatullah from Mohammadabad in Ghazipur.
The Ansari brothers wield considerable influence in around half a dozen districts of eastern UP and with their anti-SP campaign, the ruling party could suffer reverses. In Ghazipur, the two SP ministers who have been denied tickets, Shadab Fatima and Vijay Misra, are not contesting the polls but campaigning against SP. Both ministers belong to Ghazipur in eastern UP.
From Bhadohi, Akhilesh Yadav has expelled SP MLA Vijay Misra and his wife Ram Lalli Misra, who is also a SP MLC. Vijay Misra is contesting on the Nishad Party ticket and has vowed to ensure the SP’s defeat in his district.
SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary, however, denied reports of sabotage and said: “The Opposition parties are also facing a similar situation because you cannot give tickets to all. We are on a strong wicket and the people are with us.”