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Mukhtar Ansari meets Akhilesh and Shivpal, hints at electoral alliance

By Ians

Lucknow, Aug 23: Mafia don-turned-legislator Mukhtar Ansari on Tuesday ruled out the merger of his Quami Ekta Dal (QED) with the Samajwadi Party (SP) which is currently in power in Uttar Pradesh.

However, the doors are open for an alliance with the SP for the next Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, he said.

UP: Mukhtar Ansari meets Akhilesh Yadav

All decisions with respect to such an electoral alliance would be taken by his brother and QED President Afzal Ansari, he said.

Mukhtar Ansari, who represents Mau in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, faces several murder charges and has been lodged in Agra jail.

Having been allowed to attend the assembly session, he was in Lucknow on Tuesday and met Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav who had opposed the SP-QED merger when it was first suggested in June.

Mukhtar Ansari was later also closeted for about 45 minutes with Akhilesh's uncle and PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav who is widely believed to have favoured the merger.

He told reporters that he met the chief minister to apprise him of the flood situation in his area, and that there was no political significance to his meeting.

Uttar Pradesh will vote for a new government early next year.

A possible merger of QED with SP was first announced on June 21, but was shelved after Akhilesh Yadav put his foot down.

The issue has since caused much bad blood in the SP as well as within the Yadav family that controls the ruling party.

Akhilesh sacked his minister Balram Yadav apparently for facilitating the possible merger while Shivpal Singh Yadav made known his displeasure over the cancellation of the merger.

Akhilesh has, on more than two occasions, openly spelt out his opposition to any alliance with QED and told his party leadership that SP stands to gain if it goes alone in the polls.

Sources, however, say that despite resistance from Akhilesh, the two parties might come together in "some kind of electoral understanding" for the purpose of preventing the division of Muslim votes.


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