Eastern UP bad boys itching to become lawmakers

Eastern UP bad boys itching to become lawmakers

Those carrying charges against their names or criminal background continue to nurture ambitions of becoming lawmakers despite the Supreme Court ruling that a convicted person cannot remain an elected representative of India’s citizens.

But the list of such people is quite long in eastern Uttar Pradesh, a land infamous for gang wars and gangsters. Even those who are behind bars are dreaming of making it to Parliament.

While many gangsters have already joined the electoral battle on tickets from major political parties, others plan to contest as independents or from smaller outfits if the big parties don’t oblige them.

Voters in Shravasti LS constituency, for example, will have two former musclemen to choose from. Atiq Ahmed, who faces charges in around 50 criminal cases, including murder and attempt to murder, will lock horns with Rizvan Zaheer, another politician with a long criminal past, who has managed to secure nomination from the Peace Party. Atiq recently joined the SP.

In Kaiserganj, the BJP has fielded Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, another muscleman-turned-politician, who switched loyalties only a few days ago by crossing over from the SP.

Similarly, Jitendra Singh alias Bablu, former member of the state Legislative Council, was charged with torching the house of former UP congress chief Reeta Bahuguna Joshi.

He is being fielded by Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) from Faizabad. Unsurprisingly, the SP nominee from this seat, Mitrasen Yadav too has a long criminal history.

Mukhtar Ansari, an MLA from Mau who is in jail and facing trial for alleged involvement in organised crime and a prime suspect in former BJP MLA Krishnanad Rai’s killing, declared that he would contest against the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi from Varanasi.

Ansari, a member of Quami Ekta Dal, contested the 2009 polls from Varanasi and lost to BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi by a small margin of 17,000 votes. His supporters want other parties to support him so that he can give Modi a tough fight. Mukhtar's brother Afzal Ansari is also in the fray from Ballia.

Munna Singh Bajarangi, a jailed criminal and dreaded contract killer, is planning to contest as an independent candidate from Jaunpur. Brijesh Singh, a mafia don-turned-politician said he will contest from Chandauli.

D P Yadav, a bootlegging gangster from western UP who faces murder charges, is a former MP and MLA, having represented both, the SP and BSP. He is now independent, but has been trying to secure support of a mainstream political party. He is contesting from Ghazipur.

It remains to be seen how many of them make it to Parliament this time.

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