It is a unique contest that Mau is witnessing this time.
Mafia don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari has handed over the baton to his son Abbas Ansari who is contesting as a candidate of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP)-Samajwadi Party alliance.
The SBSP enjoys considerable support among the Rajbhar community.
Moreover, Abbas Ansari is banking on his father’s ‘goodwill’ and ‘Robinhood image’ to retain the seat in the family. Mukhtar has won this seat five times.
A close aide of Mukhtar says: “People in Mau have been voting for Mukhtar Ansari since the past 25 years because he is always been there to help them. People do not vote out of fear for so long.”
Abbas Ansari’s electoral rival is BJP’s Ashok Singh.
Singh and Ansari are old rivals. In August 2009, Ashok’s brother Ajay Pratap Singh was shot in broad daylight, allegedly at the behest of Mukhtar Ansari. However, Mukhtar was acquitted for the want of evidence.
The Singh family then moved the Allahabad high court to challenge the acquittal. The matter is pending before the court.
In March 2010, key witness in the murder case, Ram Singh Maurya, and his gunner Satish Kumar were shot dead. Mukhtar was again named as the accused.
“We are the only family in the entire region which has stood against the mafia. I have been threatened and implicated in fake cases. I have been offered money and all other kinds of compromise deals, but I want to see Mukhtar behind the bars for what he has done to my brother,” says Ashok.
Ashok has converted his house in Sahadatpur locality into a fortress of sorts, with dozens of CCTV cameras.
“Now, I am confident of winning this seat. Mukhtar’s decision to let his son fight is a clear indication that he no longer enjoys support,” says Singh.
Abbas Ansari refuses to be drawn into the controversy and says, “My focus is on the campaign and the issues concerning the people. I do not wish to talk about any other issue.”
The BSP has fielded Bhim Rajbhar in Mau with the aim of making a dent on Rajbhar votes.
Bhim Rajbhar had contested elections in 2012. The BSP gave ticket to Mukhtar in 2017 who won his fifth election but this time, the party has fielded Rajbhar again.
Mau will go the polls on March 7.