Going gets tough for jailed don in Mau

Going gets tough for jailed don in Mau

Jailed mafia don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, who is looking to enter the Assembly for the fifth time from Uttar Pradesh’s Mau, may find the going tough this time.

Ansari has been lodged in jail for the past 12 years in connection with the killing of BJP leader Krishnanada Rai. His writ still runs here and no one dares to challenge his supremacy, but what has made it tough is the people’s desire for development.

“We want roads, employment for the youths, good hospitals, but we cannot even meet our representative,” said 25-year-old Khalid, a resident of the town. Former Mau municipality chairman Arshad Jamal concurs. “People now want to elect someone who can ensure development of the area,” he said.

Weavers’ woes

Around 90% of the Muslims, who number about 75,000 in the constituency, are weavers. The town is famous for its world class Banarasi sarees, but the weaving activities have taken a hit over the years.

The locals said that till a few years ago, the sound of the ‘kaath’ (loom) was heard in almost every house in the localities where the weaving community lived. The two spinning mills in the district, which used to provide employment to over 5,000 people, have been closed since 2002.  “No government made any effort to restart the mills,” said Bindeshwari Pandey, a former employee of the mill.

Mukhtar had defeated BSP nominee Bhim Rajbhar by around 5,000 votes in the 2012 Assembly polls. He had formed the Quami Ekta Dal with his brother Sigbatullah Ansari. The Ansaris wanted to merge their outfit with the SP, but their plans were thwarted by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Mukhtar had sought parole from the court to take part in the campaigning, but it was stayed by the Delhi High Court. The Ansaris then joined the BSP and party supremo Mayawati promptly gave a ticket to Mukhtar from the Mau Sadar seat.

She also nominated Mukhtar’s son Abbas Ansari from Ghosi seat in the district. The SP has fielded Altaf Ansari in the hope of making a dent into Mukhtar’s vote bank. Altaf's hopes also rest on support from the members of the Yadav community, who number over 50,000. The BJP has fielded Mahendra Rajbhar in the hope of cornering a large chunk of his community votes. Polling on the seat is scheduled for Saturday.

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