After a gap of three years, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday shared dais with Afzal Ansari in Ghazipur on Monday.
In June 2016, as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav, in quest for a clean image of the party, had rebelled against his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and forced the party to severe its ties with Quami Ekta Dal headed by Afzal Ansari.
Mafia-turned-MLA Mukhtar Ansari is the younger brother of Afzal Ansari and is presently lodged in jail.
On Monday, Akhilesh Yadav campaigned for Afzal Ansari, the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate from Ghazipur, and sought votes for him.
BSP chief Mayawati was also present.
Akhilesh Yadav’s opposition to the merge of Quami Ekta Dal with SP had become a major point of difference between the SP chief and his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, who was a close aide of jailed muscleman Mukhtar Ansari.
In 2016, the Chacha-Bhatija feud intensified after Shivpal Yadav went against his nephew’s wishes and organised a press conference to announce the merger of Quami Ekta Dal with SP with the consent of Mulayam Singh Yadav. However, much to Shivpal’s embarrassment, the merger proposal was turned down by the SP Parliamentary Board. This widened the rift between Shivpal and Akhilesh.
Akhilesh Yadav had also dismissed his Cabinet minister Balram Yadav, who had reportedly played a crucial role in the negotiations for the merger of QED with SP.
Subsequently, Afzal Ansari accused Akhilesh Yadav of hijacking the Samajwadi Party and joined the BSP.
According to sources, the animosity between the two leaders was becoming a source of confusion for the voters as Afzal Ansari also has been hesitant in participating in SP gatherings. Party insiders said when Mayawati could put the infamous guest house incident to rest, Akhilesh Yadav too could forget the past.
Being a former MP and brother of a don makes Afzal Ansari’s candidature an important factor in the election for Ghazipur Lok Sabha seat from where Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Union Minister Manoj Sinha.
This key constituency in Purvanchal will go to polls in the last phase on May 19.