Be it Mukhtar Ansari or Brijesh Singh, these leaders wield influence over the voters from jail as well. Though prison and polls don’t share any umbilical cord with each other, the political horizon of our country often establishes a relation between both.

Though they contest the polls from prison, they seek votes from ‘powerful’ and ‘influential’ criminals lodged in jails. Call it a tragedy of Indian democratic set-up but on several occasions the electoral outcome has either been decided from behind the bars or have been diverted the other way around.

The role of jailed politicians can be distinctly seen in the 16th Lok Sabha elections as well. The run-up to elections was on its way to build a momentum and during that very time, Imran Masood, a Congress leader came out with an inflammatory speech against Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

This statement landed him in jail and it needs to be mentioned here that his uncle and former Union Minister Rashid Masood is locked behind the bars. Masood is investing all his efforts to ensure his son Shadan Masood’s victory, who is a Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate from Saharanpur.

There are several areas in Purvanchal region where strongmen rule the roost and they exert a considerable amount of influence over a certain section of voters. An instance regarding this can be cited of Mukhtar Ansari, who won the assembly elections from prison. He made his intent clear regarding contesting polls from Varanasi against Narendra Modi from jail, but dropped the idea later.

He, however, will contest from Ghosi seat on Quami Ekta Dal ticket. It’s certain that a number of decisions in Ghosi will be taken from jail.

BSP leader Dhananjay Singh, an accused in a rape case, has been denied party ticket. The Supreme Court had recently granted him a parole of one week to let him file his nomination papers. It’s obvious that he will go behind the bars eventually and the further scheme of things will be decided and determined from there.

Similarly, though another strongman Brajesh Singh’s nephew and former MLA Sushil Kumar Singh failed to get ticket from BJP, yet he is preparing to contest the elections from Chandauli.

It’s understood that Brijesh will definitely slog out to prepare a suitable ground for his nephew being in prison and though even he himself unsuccessfully contested assembly elections.

(JPN/Bureau)

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