New Delhi, 10 April-2014(Deccan Herald): Influential Politician and independent legislator Mukhtar Ansari, who had earlier declared that he would also take a plunge in the electoral battle at Varanasi and contest against BJP PM nominee Narendra Modi, withdrew his candidature from the high-profile seat on Thursday.
Earlier, there were indicators from his family that he could opt out of the contest and instead support a ‘joint nominee’ from the ‘secular parties’ against Modi.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Ansari had contested on BSP ticket from Varanasi and had narrowly lost to senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi by a narrow margin of 17,000 votes.
On April 9, Mukhtar’s brother and president of the Quami Ekta Dal (QAD) floated by the don a few years back, Afzal Ansari said that his outfit was of the opinion that a joint candidate from the ‘secular parties’ should be fielded against Modi to prevent division in secular votes.
“We are reconsidering the decision to field Mukhtar from Varanasi. We do not want to create any confusion among the Muslims in the constituency,” Ansari had told Deccan Herald.
The 53-year-old Mukhtar Ansari is an accused in the 2005 murder of a BJP MLA is currently biding time in an Agra jail. The several criminal charges that he faces also include the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.
The other candidates in Varanasi are Aam Admi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal, Congress’ Ajay Rai (who is a local MLA), Samajwadi Party’s Kailash Chaurasia (whi recently quit his ministerial position in the state) and Bahujan Samaj Party’s Vijay Prakash Jaiswal.
On Wednesday, the former Delhi Chief Minister got a shot in the arm when Varanasi’s influential Muslim clerics decided to back him and appealed to the community to vote for him.