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Varanasi gets hotter: Ansari withdraws from the big fight



Mukhtar Ansari

Mukhtar Ansari

Varanasi: making waves from inside the prison, Quami Ekta Dal MLA Mukhtar Ansari, an alleged mafia don let it be known yesterday that he will not contest from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat against Narendra Modi to avoid division of anti-BJP votes in the high-profile battle. It is being said that this will favour AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and the congress candidate Ajay Ray, another strong man. The decision was announced by his elder brother and QED chief Afzal Ansari in Varanasi Thursday. Mukhtar is lodged in Agra jail in connection with the murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai. As a BSP candidate, Mukhtar Ansari went down fighting against the BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi in 2009 by just around 17,000 votes. His entry into the contest was earlier being considered to make the high-profile poll battle in Varansi acutely polarised.

Mukhtar has already announced candidature from Ghosi Lok Sabha seat.b“My brother will not contest from Varanasi. We are now hoping that all the secular parties get together and decide to support a particular candidate, who can give a tough fight to Modi. We are ready to support such a consensus candidate,” Afzal told The Indian Express. The QED leader, who is currently lodged in Agra jail on charges of murdering a BJP MLA, conveyed the decision through his brother and national party president Afzal Ansari in Varanasi. The decision was taken “to strengthen secular forces and avoid division of votes”, Afzal Ansari said. Mukhtar Ansari will, however, contest from the Ghosi parliamentary constituency in Mau district. “We will discuss our future course of action later. Now SP, BSP and AAP have to decide how to defeat Modi,” the (QED) president said.

The QED’s decision not to field Mukhtar Ansari from Varanasi comes in the backdrop of a popular perception among Muslims in the region that the Mau based don has entered some sort of a ‘political agreement’ with the BJP for division of Muslim votes in Varanasi.


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