Every time on the eve of elections, a debate comes to fore about barring the tainted politicians from contesting the elections. But despite staying behind bars, the influence of such people is so deep in the system that they are able to carry forward their political game plans without any obstacle. Moreover, to show their influence, the tainted leaders normally field their kin in the electoral fray. Election Commission of India has showed its helplessness on several occasions on this front as it lacks an effective law to bar the tainted candidates from contesting elections.

Even this time, many history-sheeters are in the poll fray while staying behind bars. Their kin like- brother, uncle, wife and other relatives- are holding the command of election campaigns to canvass in favour of such candidates. Atique Ahmed, lodged in Basti jail since 2008, is once again contesting from Allahabad (West) seat on the ticket of Apan Dal. Even in two previous elections, Ahmed contested election from jail. In 2005 by-poll for this seat after the assassination of BSP MLA Raju Pal, Atiq was highly instrumental in ensuring victory of his brother Ashraf who was behind bars that time.

Now again this time he is in the fray and his wife Shaista Begum is holding the baton to canvass in favour of her husband. Another tainted Samajwadi Party MLA Vijay Mishra who hails from Allahabad and is now lodged in Meerut jail is in fray from Gyanpur constituency. Mishra was arrested in 2011 for his alleged involvement in a deadly attack on BSP minister Nand Gopal Nandi. His wife Ramlali Mishra and other family members are canvassing for him.

Interestingly, Mau MLA Mukhtar Ansari has so far contested six assembly elections out of which four were fought when he was lodged in jail. Again this time, he is contesting from this seat while being behind bars. Ansari contested first assembly election in 1994 from Ghazipur seat. It was a by-poll and he was defeated in a direct fight between him and Rajbahadur, then Social Welfare Minister of SP-BSP government of Uttar Pradesh. Later he contested from Ghosi Lok Sabha constituency in 1996 on BSP ticket against former Union Minister Kalpnath Rai. Though he once again lost the elections in a direct fight between him and Rai, but got elected to state assembly for the first time from Mau Sadar seat on BSP ticket in the next assembly polls. This time he was not in jail. He was again elected to state assembly in 2002 but later he was sent behind bars. He won state assembly election in 2007 as an independent candidate. He contested 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi seat on BSP ticket while being in jail against former BJP president Murali Manohar Joshi. Now Ansari is lodged in Agra jail and contesting from two assembly seats- Mau Sadar and Ghosi- on the ticket of his own newly floated party- Quami Ekta Dal. His two brothers, Sibgatullah Ansari, an MLA, and former MP Afzal Ansari are canvassing for him. Mukhtar is eager to expand the influence of his party in this election.

Amarmani Tripathi, presently lodged in Dehradun jail after being convicted in Madhumita Shukla murder case, has fielded his son Aman Tripathi from Nautanva assembly seat. Even after his conviction, he is still influential in the region. Amarmani was elected to the state assembly for the first time in 1989 on Congress ticket from Lakshmipur assembly seat. Later he again won assembly election in 1996 which continued till last assembly election. As a Loktantrik Congress MLA, he was appointed as a Minister of State for Youth Welfare in the state the state government in 1998. Later he was allocated the charge of portfolios like- Animal Husbandry and Fishery and trade tax ministry- in the state government. Later in 2002, he won assembly election from the same Lakshmipur seat on BSP ticket and again got allocated a ministerial berth in the BSP government. But soon he was implicated in Madhumita Shukla murder case. He contested 2007 assembly election from behind bars and again got elected to the state assembly.