SP aims to field Ansariís brother, wife as LS candidates

Atiq AhmedAtiq Ahmed

After fielding mafia-turned politician Atiq Ahmed from Sultanpur parliamentary seat, SP is now aiming to pick some leaders from Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED) who hold considerable influence in some pockets of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

SP sources ruled out any alliance with QED, which was formed by gangster-turned MLA Mukhtar Ansari, but claimed that efforts are on to rope in his wife to contest as party candidate from Varanasi parliamentary constituency and his brother Afzal Ansari from Mau's Ghosi seat.

Recently, Mukhtar along with his brother and MLA Sibghatullah Ansari had met ministers Shivpal Yadav and Azam Khan at state Assembly.

Sources said, for SP, winnability factor has become the most important in the coming Lok Sabha elections and the criminal tag seems to be a non- issue.

"In 2004 Afzal Ansari had won Ghazipur seat for SP. He is a seasoned politician and had been MLA for five terms. There is no harm if he contests as SP candidate again," a senior SP functionary said.

Both Mukhar and Afzal had lost 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi and Ghazipur, respectively, as BSP candidates after which they had formed their own outfit QED. The outfit had even contested the 2012 Assembly elections and had won two seats including Mau which was bagged by Mukhtar.

QED has its pockets of influence over Muslim voters in Mau, Ghazipur, Ballia and other adjoining areas. Sources said SP initiated the move to rope in Mukhtar's brother and wife after QED announcing Afzal Ansari as its candidate from Ballia ó a seat which is currently held by SP's Neeraj Shekhar, the son of former PM late Chandrashekhar.

Ballia assumes significance for SP due to the socialist legacy of Chandrashekhar. With Afzal Ansari announcing his candidature, Neeraj Shekhar is on a sticky wicket. For safeguarding Neeraj, Ghosi parliamentary seat may be offered to Afzal.

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