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Mukhtar Ansari is an Indian criminal-politician from Maunath Bhanjan or Mau in Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Most recently he won the Mau seat in the Uttar Pradesh Elections, 2007 as an Independent, while in prison on charges of murdering rival BJP Member of the Legislative Assembly Krishnand Rai. He is one among many such criminal-politicians in Uttar Pradesh.

Mukhtar was initially a member of the Makhanu Singh gang, which clashed with Sahib Singh's gang over Ghazipur's lucrative contract work mafia, estimated at more than Rs.100 crores a year[1]. Eventually, Makhanu Singh killed Sahib Singh, resulting in brutal reprisals.

In October 1996, when Mukhtar Ansari had pending charges in criminal cases from murder, extortion, kidnapping, etc., he was inducted into politics by Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party. Subsequently, the Bihar Police obtained a confession from a member of his gang that Ansari was behind the kidnapping and murder of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad treasurer, Nand Lal Rungta, in January 2002. However, the chief minister, Mayawati, immediately had the DIG of police transferred for recording this confession[2].

Mukhtar Ansari's main mafia activity is in coal mining, railway construction and scrap disposal, Public Works construction, and the illicit liquor business. The local contract work mafia business, known as thekedari, was taken over from ganglord Tata Birender Singh when he was killed by Brajesh Singh. In 2001 Brajesh Singh ambushed Ansari's convoy on the Mau-Lucknow highway. In the shootout that followed, Mukhtar Ansari lost three of his key men and Brajesh Singh was critically injured and declared dead soon after. Mukhtar Ansari was 'crowned' the undisputed king of eastern U.P. (Purvanchal). However, a year later Brajesh Singh was spotted in the Mau-Ghazipur area and the feud allegedly still continues.Brajesh singh was recently arrested on 24 Jan 2008 at Bhubaneswar, Orissa , where he was living under a different identity as a builder and had been running a real estate business in the city.[1]

Contents

Krishnanand Rai Murder

Krishnanand Rai of the Bharatiya Janata Party contested the Mohammadabad Assembly seat in the 2002 elections and won it against Mukhtar Ansari's elder brother Afzal Ansari. Allegedly, his election campaign was financed and supported by Brajesh Singh. Subsequently, Rai used his political office to pass many contracts to Brajesh Singh's gang (which had inherited the mantle of Sahib Singh). Mukhtar Ansari has claimed to the press that Krishnanand Rai and Brajesh Singh were working as a team and were planning to eliminate him. On the street, the feud between Mukhtar Ansari and the Krishnanand-Brajesh Singh duo was well known and the gangs clashed frequently[1].

Subsequently, in 2004, Krishnanand Rai won the Member of the Legislative Assembly seat at Mohammadabad, again defeating Afzal Ansari. Subsequently, Krishnanand Rai was travelling near the Ballia-Ghazipur border when they were ambushed and killed by several motorcycle-borne miscreants armed with sophisticated weapons.

After Rai's murder, the seat fell vacant and in the ensuing election, Afzal Ansari was re-elected MP to the 14th Lok Sabha from the Ghazipur seat.

Later, charges were framed against 10 people including Mukhtar Ansari, Afzal Ansari, and notorious east U.P. gangster Munna Bajrangi in connection with the killing.[3] After some delay, Afzal surrendered in the court. The Ansari brothers and Ejaz are presently lodged in Ghazipur district prison.

Mukhtar Ansari was also charged with arson and inciting to riot during the riots in Mau on October 14, 15 and 16, 2005.

Politics

Mukhtar Ansari has changed political affiliation several times, having been with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party in the beginning, but subsequently he was one of the first to support Mulayam Singh Yadav's (Samajwadi Party). He rejoined the Bahujan Samaj Party unofficially in 2008.

Mukhtar Ansari fought the U.P. State Elections, 2007, while lodged initially Ghazipur jail, where he and his brother have been regularly holding election meetings with supporters. However, the Election Commission ordered him shifted to Jhansi jail[4].

Like many other criminal-politician candidates, he was fighting as an independent, hoping to make the most of the political uncertainty in the expected situation with no single party coming to majority. His family campaigned for him, and he won the seat, defeating Vijay Pratap of the Bahujan Samaj Party by a margin of seven thousand votes (4.5%)[5]. However, the emergence of BSP as the single majority party may dampen some of his powerbroking opportunities.

The U.P. Assembly Elections, 2007 also saw Mukhtar Ansari's attempt to initiate a dynastic politics. His wife, Afsan, brother Sibakatullah and his brother's son Mohammed Majid contested from Ghazipur Sadar and Mohammadabad as Independent candidates[6]. Sibakatullah won and is currently a member of the Vidhan Sabha.

See also

References

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