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  India   Politics  04 Mar 2017  UP polls: M governs Mau politics, in letter and spirit

UP polls: M governs Mau politics, in letter and spirit

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Mar 4, 2017, 3:07 am IST
Updated : Mar 4, 2017, 6:33 am IST

At the core of this ‘M’ factor are the Muslim voters who constitute about 20 per cent of the votebase.

Mukhtar Ansari. (Photo: PTI)
 Mukhtar Ansari. (Photo: PTI)

Mau: In Mau, it is the ‘M’ factor that rules the politics of this election season. This ‘M’ factor is gradually encompassing the entire Purvanchal even though it has not polarised voters on religious lines yet.

‘M’ here begins with Mukhtar Ansari, the main candidate, continues with Prime Minister Narendra Modi who warned ‘Bahubalis’ in his rally last week and reaches to Mayawati who urges voters to ensure Mukhtar’s victory from the seat. At the core of this ‘M’ factor are the Muslim voters who constitute about 20 per cent of the votebase.

Mukhtar Ansari, the BSP candidate from here, is a well known mafia don and also a four-term legislator. His Qaumi Ekta Dal triggered a war in the Samajwadi family when Mulayam Singh Yadav approved the merger in the SP, only to be opposed and then back out following son and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s stance. QED then merged into the BSP and three members of the Ansari family are now its candidates.

Although Mukhtar is in jail since 2005 for the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai, he rides high on his Robin Hood image in his hometown. He has been polling between 31 per cent to 45 per cent votes in the past four elections

“We are not concerned about his criminal background. Mukhtar has never involved himself in any crime here. He may be in jail but he makes sure that help is provided to every needy person, irrespective of his religion. He works for the constituency which explains why he has been winning even though he has been in jail for the past 12 years,” says Ravi Rai, a businessman who belongs to the Bhumihar caste.

The PM  created a stir at his rally last week when he lashed out at ‘bahubalis’, in a clear reference to Mukhtar. Interestingly, the BJP does not have a candidate against Mukhtar and it is the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), its ally, who is contesting against the BSP candidate. Mr Modi’s statement was an attempt at polarising Hindus against Muslims and sending the message across Purvanchal.

But the reverse happened. Shirish Tiwari, who has business interests in the handloom industry here, says, “The BJP has no business talking against Mukhtar Ansari if it has given ticket to Sushil Singh (nephew of mafia don Brijesh Singh). Mukhtar bails us out when the government fails to do so.”

Mukhtar’s son Abbas Ansari, who is contesting his first election from Ghosi, a neighboring constituency, says, “You can now understand my father’s stature and influence if it forces the PM  to talk about him.”

Afzal Ansari, Mukhtar’s elder brother, says, “We are nationalists and not leaders of the community. The media puts us at the centre of Muslim politics but we have more Hindus than Muslims supporting us”.

Mayawati, who too held a rally in Mau, urged people to ensure the “biggest victory margin” for Mukhtar and his son Abbas and give a “befitting reply” to BJP.

The core of this politics, meanwhile, are the Muslim voters who form the economic backbone of Mau which is a weavers’ hub and a complex tapestry of caste and religion.

Mau seems to have lost faith in the governments as their issues remain unaddressed. “The handloom industry is dying, there are no processing centres and no scope for research and development. The Ghaghra river wreaks havoc during monsoon and no government has addressed the issue,” says Rafiq Ansari, a weaver.

Tags: mukhtar ansari, narendra modi, qaumi ekta dal
Location: India, Uttar Pradesh, Maunath Bhanjan