Abhinav Pandey Lucknow, Mar 8: Come polls and many jailbirds land in the poll arena in Uttar Pradesh. While there are many musclemen who are trying their luck in the ongoing state polls from behind the bars, there are others who are supporting their kin from behind the prison walls. Mafia Mukhtar Ansari, a four-time member of legislative assembly from Mau Sadar, tops the chart in the league. He is contesting polls from the Mau seat against Alka Rai (Bharatiya Janata Party), whose husband Krishnanad Rai was killed allegedly by Mukhtar.
Not only Mukhtar, his son Abbas and brother Sigbathullah Ansari are also in the fray from Ghosi and Mohammadabad seats and the don himself is trying his best to ensure they emerge victorious after he was denied parole by the court. Aman Mani Tripathi lodged in Dasna jail (Ghaziabad) in connection with the murder case of his wife Sara is contesting as an independent candidate from Nautanwa seat (Mahrajganj).
His father Amar Mani Tripathi and mother are also in jail in connection with the poetess Madhumita Shukla murder case. His campaign was managed by sisters Tanushri and Alankrita, who left no stone unturned to ensure the victory of their brother. Another candidate, Shyam Narain Singh alias Vineet Singh who is lodged in Ranchi jail in connection with a kidnapping case, is in the fray from Sayedraza seat in Chandauli on a BSP ticket.
For Vineet, his family is campaigning while he is managing things from jail. There are some like Sanjeev Maheswari, who is lodged in Mainpuri district jail and is facing several cases including that of murder. They are not in the fray directly but are very much in the poll arena. Sanjeev managed to get a Rashtriya Lok Dal ticket for his wife Payal Maheshwari from Muzaffarnagar and kept an eye on her campaigning.
Another accused in the Krisnhnand Rai murder case, Prem Singh alias Munna Bajrangi is in Jhansi jail but his wife Seema is contesting from Madiyahun seat in Jaunpur on Apna Dal (Krishna Patel faction) ticket. Munna is lodged in Jhansi district jail and faces trial in eight criminal cases. Former BJP MLA Udaybhan Karwariya lodged in Mirzapur jail is managing the poll campaign of his wife Neelam Karwariya contesting from Meja seat in Allahabad on a BJP ticket.
Some other known musclemen have also fielded their wards in these assembly polls. While in Raebareli, five-time MLA and muscleman Akhilesh Pratap Singh's daughter Aditi Singh is trying her luck, another mafia-turned-politician Rizwan Zaheer's daughter Zeba Rizwan is contesting for the first time from Tulsipur assembly constituency in Balrampur.
According to an analysis of self-sworn affidavits of the total 4,823 candidates in this election (out of the 4,853 overall in the fray) by the Uttar Pradesh Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 859 have disclosed criminal cases against them (18 per cent) and further 704 have serious criminal cases (15 per cent) pending against them.