Mukhtar backs Congress against Modi in Varanasi

Mukhtar backs Congress against Modi in Varanasi

Mukhtar backs Congress against Modi in Varanasi

Two sworn enemies, both with criminal pasts and hailing from eastern Uttar Pradesh, have joined hands to defeat a “common enemy” - the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. 

Jailed mafia don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari's Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED) on Tuesday announced its support for the Congress candidate Ajai Rai in Varanasi against Modi.

QED's support to Rai comes despite the fact that Ansari had been accused of killing Rai's elder brother Awadhesh Rai and the case is pending trial. Incidentally, Ajai Rai is a witness in the case against Ansari.

QED president and Ansari's brother Afzal Ansari told reporters on Tuesday that only the Congress was capable of fighting communal forces. He conceded that his “personal relationship” with Rai was not good. “Rai is a strong candidate and is a five-term MLA,” he added. Ansari said that his party would have preferred a joint candidate against Modi.

Mukhtar Ansari, who had earlier declared that he would take a plunge in the electoral battle at Varanasi, opted out of the contest and had decided to support a “joint nominee” from the “secular parties” against Modi.

Mukhtar is contesting the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls from Ghosi seat. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Mukhtar had contested on a BSP ticket from Varanasi and had lost to BJP's Murli Manohar Joshi by 17,000 votes.

Varanasi has a large number of “Ansaris”, who are traditionally weavers. Their support could prove to be a big boost to Rai in the polls.