Mukhtar Ansari’s journey from an illustrious family to the world of crime

Lucknow: Contrary to the image he later cultivated for himself, Mukhtar Ansari belonged to an illustrious background.

The jailed gangster-turned-politician, who died after suffering a cardiac arrest on Thursday evening aged 60, was the grandson of Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, a prominent figure in India’s freedom movement who was also the President of the Indian National Congress.

Born on June 30, 1963, in Uttar Pradesh’s Yusufpur, Mukhtar Ansari’s journey from the alleys of crime to the corridors of power was captivating, to put it rather mildly.

Ansari’s foray into the world of crime began in the 1980s. His involvement in organised crime escalated through the 1990s, particularly in the districts of Mau, Ghazipur, Varanasi, and Jaunpur.

He became a notable figure in the underworld, engaging in fierce rivalries, mostly with Brijesh Singh, over the control of lucrative contracts spanning coal mining, railway construction, and other sectors.

The period was marked by violent confrontations, including an ambush on his convoy in 2002 that left three of his men dead and sparked further bloodshed in the region.

Ansari slowly transitioned into politics and managed to win the Assembly elections for five consecutive terms since 1996 from Mau.

Ansari’s political career was characterised by its duality. While he was seen by some as a Robin Hood figure, others viewed him through the lens of his criminal activities.

His tenure in politics included affiliations with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), where he was portrayed as a ‘messiah of the poor’, and later the formation of the Quami Ekta Dal (QED) with his brothers after being expelled from the BSP.

Ansari’s life was marked by legal troubles, as he faced charges in more than 60 cases since being lodged in prison in 2005.

His criminal record included accusations of murder, kidnapping, and extortion.

In April 2023, he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for the killing of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai. In March 2024, he received a life sentence in connection with a fake arms licence case.


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