UP Assembly election 2022: BJP slams Akhilesh Yadav for inducting Mukhtar Ansari’s brother

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday (August 30, 2021) slammed Akhilesh Yadav for inducting gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Sibghatulla Ansari into Samajwadi Party (SP).

Launching a scathing attack on SP chief, the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh unit tweeted a video and said, “Akhilesh is following the line ‘satta paane ke liye kuch bhi karega’ (will do everything to come to power). What socialism are you talking about by getting the family of don Mukhtar Ansari to join the SP.”

Sibghatullah Ansari, a former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA, had joined SP on Saturday. He had won the 2007 Assembly election from Mohammadabad constituency on an SP ticket and again contested and won from the seat in 2012 on a ticket of Quami Ekta Dal, a party floated by his brother. He then joined BSP in 2017 and unsuccessfully contested the election

Sibghatullah’s brother Mukhtar Ansari is also a BSP MLA from Mau and is currently lodged in a jail in Uttar Pradesh.

Opposition parties intensify demand for caste-based census 

Meanwhile, the opposition parties have intensified demand for a caste-based census ahead of the Uttar Pradesh 2022 Assembly elections. With a considerable sway over various castes, several smaller parties in Uttar Pradesh have been bargaining hard with mainline parties like the BJP and Samajwadi Party. 

Recently, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with a team of 11 political leaders from the state, including RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav to discuss the issue of a caste census.

Earlier on July 20, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai had stated in Lok Sabha that the Government of India has decided as a matter of policy not to enumerate caste-wise populations other than SCs and STs in the census.

Uttar Pradesh is said to be home to around 79 castes that constitute the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and 66 scheduled castes (SCs) and sub-castes. As per a few reports, the OBCs and the SCs together account for around 60-70% of Uttar Pradesh’s population. 

There is a view that a caste census will bring the Mandal politics to the centre stage of politics and can be an effective weapon in the hands of regional parties to counter the BJP’s Hindutva and welfare planks, the twin issues used by the saffron party to make inroads into the OBC vote bank at the expense of state-based parties. The BJP leadership, however, has so far not taken a categorical stand on the issue which has been lapped up by a number of regional parties, many of them its rivals in different states. 

The caste-based census has not reportedly taken place in the country since British rule. 

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