Afzal Ansari hails Purvanchal success as victory of ‘poor, marginalised, and pro-democratic forces’


Afzal Ansari. File photo

Afzal Ansari. File photo
| Photo Credit: The Hindu

Afzal Ansari, who won the Ghazipur Parliamentary seat in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election, described the success of the Indian National Democratic Inclusive Alliance bloc in eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Purvanchal region as a victory of poor, marginalised, and pro-democratic forces. Mr. Ansari defeated Paras Nath Rai of the BJP by 1,24,861 votes.

Mr. Ansari added that the victory of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress across the Purvanchal belt showcased the unity of people across caste and religious lines against the “cold-blooded murder” of his younger brother Mukhtar Ansari inside Banda jail.

He stated that despite the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders’ attempts to create a Hindu-Muslim binary, his victory highlights the sympathy wave that swept the region after the death of Mr. Ansari’s brother.

“From local BJP leaders directly calling for revenge against our family, to even top leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath indirectly targeting my dead brother by calling him mafia, all attempts were made. The people, however, cut across caste and religious lines to prove that he was in fact a messiah [saviour] who stood firm against these demon and oppressors,” Mr. Ansari told The Hindu.

The name of Mukhtar Ansari, a late five-time MLA had dominated the campaign vocabulary in eastern U.P. with BJP leaders asking voters to seek revenge against the Ansari clan for the murder of former BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai and BJP leader Awadhesh Rai.

“The bulldozer of Yogi Adityanath’s government ended goondaraj [reign of goons] in Uttar Pradesh. Under the Samajwadi Party rule, the mafia operated with impunity; brazenly challenging the law from open jeeps and killing rivals,” Mr. Modi said addressing a rally in the Ghosi Lok Sabha seat that includes the Mau Sadar Vidhan Sabha constituency, from where Abbas Ansari, son of the late Mukhtar Ansari is MLA. Mukhtar Ansari represented the seat between 1996-2022, passing the baton to his son.

“The BJP lost not only Ghazipur, where they stationed the whole administrative mechanism to defeat me, but also lost neighbouring Chandauli, Salempur, Ballia, Janupur, and Ghosi. In all these seats 50,000 to 1,00,000 votes shifted in the INDIA bloc’s favour due to sympathy for my late brother who was murdered in jail,” Mr. Ansari, who won his third Lok Sabha battle from Ghazipur, said.

In Ballia, Sanatan Pandey of the SP won by 43,384 votes against former PM Chandra Shekhar’s son Neeraj Shekhar, while in Chandauli, the SP Virendra Singh defeated BJP leader and Union Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey by 21,565 votes and in Ghosi the SP candidate Ajay Rai won by 1,62,943 votes against Arvind Rajbhar. The Ansari family wields influence in the Varanasi and Ghazipur region of Purvanchal.

Mukhtar Ansari, a five-time former MLA died of cardiac arrest on the night of March 28, hours after he was rushed to the Rani Durgawati Medical College in Banda district, as per the U.P. government. His family had alleged that the former MLA had been “poisoned” in prison. Mr. Ansari, the five-time former MLA, faced more than five dozen cases and has been languishing in jail since 2005.

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