Mukhtar Ansari is an Indian mafia-don turned politician from Uttar Pradesh. He has been elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly from the Mau constituency a record four times. He was the prime accused in the Krishnanand Rai murder case among other crimes, and has pleaded not guilty.
Ansari won his first Assembly election as a candidate of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and the next two as an independent. In 2007, he joined BSP and unsuccessfully contested the 2009 Lok Sabha election. After BSP expelled him in 2010 for criminal activities, he formed his own party Quami Ekta Dal with his brothers. He won from the Mau seat in the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly election, 2012. He rejoined BSP in 2017, before the state elections.
Mukhtar Ansari is the grandson of Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, an early president of the Indian National Congress.
In the early 1970s, the government commissioned several development projects in the backward Poorvanchal area. This resulted in the rise of organised gangs that competed with each other to grab the contracts for these projects. Mukhtar Ansari was originally a member of the Makhanu Singh gang. In the 1980s, this gang clashed with another gang led by Sahib Singh, over a plot of land in Saidpur, resulting in a series of violent incidents. Brijesh Singh, a member of Sahib Singh's gang, later formed his own gang and took over Ghazipur's contract work mafia in the 1990s. Ansari's gang competed with him for the control of the ₹ 100 crore contract business, which spanned areas such as coal mining, railway construction, scrap disposal, public works and liquor business. The gangs were also involved in running protection ("goonda tax") and extortion rackets, besides other criminal activities such as kidnapping.
As an MLA
By the early 1990s, Mukhtar Ansari was well known for his criminal activities, especially in the districts of Mau, Ghazipur, Varanasi and Jaunpur. He entered politics around 1995, became an MLA in 1996, and started challenging Brijesh Singh's dominance. The two became the main gang rivals in the Poorvanchal region. In 2002, Singh ambushed Ansari's convoy. Three of Ansari's men were killed in the resulting shootout. Brijesh Singh was critically injured and presumed dead. Ansari became the undisputed gang leader in Poorvanchal. However, Brijesh Singh was later found to be alive, and the feud resumed. To counter Ansari's political influence, Singh supported the election campaign of the BJP leader Krishnanand Rai. Rai defeated Mukhtar Ansari's brother and five-time MLA Afal ansari from the Mohammadabad in the 2002 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Mukhtar Ansari later claimed that Rai used his political office to award all the contracts to Brijesh singh's gang, and the two planned to eliminate him.
Ansari used the Muslim votebank to ensure his victory during the elections in the Ghazipur-Mau area. His opponents tried to consolidate the Hindu votes, which is divided on the caste lines. The mix of crime, politics and religion led to several instances of communal violence in the region. After one such riot, Mukhtar Ansari was arrested on the charge of inciting people towards violence.
While Ansari was lodged in the jail, Krishnanand Rai was shot dead in public along with his six aides. The attackers fired over 400 bullets from six AK-47 rifles; 67 bullets were recovered from the seven bodies. Shashikant Rai, an important witness in the case, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in 2006. He had identified Ansari and Bajrangi's shooters Angad Rai and Gora Rai as the two of the gunmen who attacked Rai's convoy. The police dismissed his death as a suicide. Ansari's rival Brijesh Singh escaped from the Ghazipur-Mau area after Rai's murder. He was later arrested in 2008, in Orissa, and later entered politics as a member of the Pragatisheel Manav Samaj Party.
In 2008, Ansari was booked for ordering an attack on Dharmendra Singh, a witness in a murder case. However, later, the victim submitted an affidavit requesting the proceedings against Ansari to be dropped.
|2012||Mau||31.24%||Quami Ekta Dal|
|1996||Mau||45.85%||Bahujan Samaj Party|
Bahujan Samaj Party
Mukhtar Ansari and his brother Afzal joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 2007. The party allowed them in, after they claimed that they had been falsely framed in criminal cases for fighting against the "feudal system", and promised to refrain from participating in any crimes. The BSP chief Mayawati portrayed Mukhtar Ansari as Robin Hood and called him "a messiah of the poor". Ansari fought the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi on a BSP ticket, while still lodged in the jail. He lost to BJP's Murli Manohar Joshi by a margin of 17,211 votes; he received 27.94% of the votes, compared to Joshi's 30.52%.
Mukhtar Ansari and two other persons were charge-sheeted for the murder of Kapil Dev Singh in April 2009. The police also found that he had ordered the murder of a contractor Ajay Prakash Singh in August 2009. In 2010, Ansari was booked for the murder of Ram Singh Maurya. Maurya was a witness to the murder of Mannat Singh, a local contractor allegedly killed by Ansari's gang in 2009.
The two brothers were expelled by BSP in 2010, after the party realized that they were still involved in criminal activities. A raid in Ghazipur jail, where he was lodged, had revealed that Mukhtar was living a luxurious life: items like air coolers and cooking equipment were found from his cell. He was shifted to the Mathura prison soon after the raid.
Quami Ekta Dal
After being expelled from BSP and being rejected by other political parties, the three Ansari brothers (Mukhtar, Afzal and Sibkatillah) formed their own political party called the Quami Ekta Dal (QED), in 2010. Earlier, Mukhtar had launched an outfit called the Hindu Muslim Ekta Party, which was merged with QED. In 2012, he was charged under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act for being a member of an organised crime syndicate.
In March 2014, Ansari announced that he will contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections against Narendra Modi from Varanasi, besides contesting from Ghosi. However, in April, he withdrew his candidature stating that he wanted to prevent division of "secular votes".
Back in BSP
On 26 January 2017, Ansari rejoined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), before the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Legislative elections. There was widespread speculation about the Ansari brothers joining Samajwadi party for a couple of months ago.
BSP chief Mayawati defended his entry into the party, stating that the criminal charges against Ansari had not been proven, and that the party gives people a chance to reform themselves.