The politically charged Uttar Pradesh has always been an attraction for both the politicians and the keen watchers of politics. Being the most-populous state that sends 80 lawmakers to Parliament, it is often said the party that wins Uttar Pradesh, decides the government in Delhi (at the Centre). But with power comes enmity, bloodshed, gang wars and of course, money.
Amazon Prime’s made-in-India crime series, ‘Mirzapur’, may be fictional depiction of lawless Uttar Pradesh boondocks but reality does become a mirror of fiction. If not Mirzapur itself, UP still has many bustling bylanes that often hit headlines for its ‘killer’ combination of power and politics. Some hinterlands in state are known for being high on political vendettas and pistols firing up a storm at every given opportunity.
The likes of ‘Kaleen bhaiyya’, ‘Guddu bhaiyya’ and ‘Rati Shankar Shukla’ are known as ‘bahubalis’ of Uttar Pradesh. News18 reintroduces you to some so-called dons of the state and their straight-out-of-movies life.
Mukhtar Ansari vs Brijesh Singh
Mafia don and MLA Mukhtar Ansari is all set to fight Uttar Pradesh elections from the Mau Sadar seat district on the symbol of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) from jail.
Mukhtar emerged victorious from the Mau Sadar Assembly seat as a Bahujan Samaj Party member in 1996. Since then, he has won the seat in all consecutive elections and this will be the sixth time he is contesting the seat.
What’s more interesting is his enmity with Brijesh Singh, who is also lodged in jailed and is trying to seek re-election in upcoming MLC (local body) polls in UP. Their story is somewhat similar to ‘Mirzapur’s’ Akhandanand ‘Kaleen Bhaiyya’ Tripathi and ‘Rati Shankar Shukla’.
Ansari and Brijesh were once upon a time close to each other but their relationship turned sour in the 90s when the government began commissioning development projects in the backward Poorvanchal area. This led to rise of organised gangs that competed with each other to grab the contracts for these projects.
Ansari, said to be a member of the Makhanu Singh gang initially, clashed with another gang led by Sahib Singh in the 1980s over a plot of land in Saidpur. Brijesh at that time worked with Sahib, and the clash between the two gangs resulted in series of violent incidents.
In 1995, Ansari entered politics through student union in Banaras Hindu University, became an MLA in 1996, and started challenging Brijesh’s dominance. The two became the main gang rivals in the Poorvanchal region.
To counter Ansari’s political influence, Singh supported the election campaign of the BJP leader Krishnanand Rai. Rai defeated Mukhtar Ansari’s brother and five-time MLA Afzal Ansari from Mohammadabad in the 2002 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
Mukhtar Ansari later claimed that Rai used his political office to award all the contracts to Brijesh Singh’s gang, and thus, he conspired to eliminate the two.
His name has also been linked to the murderous attack on ASP Uday Shankar, kidnapping of Purvanchal’s biggest coal trader Rungta and riots in Mau district in 2005. Nearly 40 cases of heinous crime have been lodged against him at a single police station in the Ghazipur district.
His party, Qaumi Ekta Dal, was merged into BSP before he contested the 2017 Assembly election on its ticket.
The jailed don, had come in the line of fire when the Yogi Adityanath government cracked down on him and his aides.
As per the police records of Varanasi zone, the loss to the economic empire of Mukhtar gang in this region of east UP had reached close to Rs 400 crore, when the last major action of seizure of property of his son had taken place in Ghazipur on December 22, 2021.
Mafia don Atiq Ahmed will not fight UP elections this time, neither anyone from his family. The jailed ‘bahubali’ had been fighting elections ever since the gangster himself contested polls for first time in 1989. This is the second consecutive assembly election that none from his family would be in poll fray.
Though All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) had earlier announced to field Atiq’s wife Shaista Praveen as their candidate from Allahabad West, a seat that Atiq has won five times in a row, she did not file her nomination for which the last date was February 8.
Ahmed, now 62, is said to have committed his first murder in 1979. And there was no looking back for him in the world of crime. A five-time legislator and a one-time parliamentarian, Ahmad has 96 criminal cases against him. He has been named in cases of murder, abductions, illegal mining, extortion, intimidation and fraud, among others.
Amar Mani and Aman Mani Tripathi
This father-son duo reminds us of ‘Mirzapur’s’ ‘Kaleen bhaiyya’ and his son ‘Munna bhaiyya’, both equally embroiled in crime. Aman Mani Tripathi, currently out on bail, has been fielded by Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party from Maharajganj’s Nautanwa in the ongoing Uttar Pradesh elections.
While Aman Mani is an accused in the alleged murder of his wife Sara Singh in 2015, his parents Amar Mani and Madhumani are serving life term for the killing in 2003 of poetess Madhumita Shukla.
Sara had been found dead under mysterious circumstances in Firozabad district in 2015. Aman Mani had then claimed that their car had had an accident on the way to New Delhi. But CBI in 2017 found him guilty of killing his wife by strangulation as part of a “premeditated plan”.
Raghuraj Pratap Singh aka Raja Bhaiyya
Raja Bhaiyya had launched his own party, Jansatta Dal, two years ago and is fighting UP elections from his stronghold, Kunda. Raghuraj Pratap Singh has been winning this seat since 1993 and his victory margin has only grown with every election.
For the first time in nearly three decades, he is being challenged by his own acolyte Gulshan Yadav, who is a Samajwadi Party candidate.
Raja Bhaiyya is another ‘bahubali’ who bears resemblance to ‘Mirzapur’s’ Kaleen bhaiyya. In the Badlands of Uttar Pradesh, Raghuraj Pratap Singh evokes fear.
Rumour has it that the MLA from Kunda feeds his enemies to pet crocodiles. There’s not much to substantiate this although the Mayawati government, which hounded him for years, claimed to have discovered hundreds of skeletons from the Beti pond on the campus of his Kunda residence.
An incident in 1995 in the Dilerganj village in Pratapgarh district explains how Raghuraj Pratap Singh became the dreaded Raja Bhaiyya, who went on to evoke epithets like ‘Kunda ka Gunda,’ ‘Robin Hood’, ‘criminal politician’, ‘don’ and ‘bahubali.’
Over 20 houses were set ablaze in the village, three Muslim girls raped and brutally murdered and a Muslim boy was tied to a vehicle and dragged around the village. The fire tender returned without doing their job and reported that there was no water available to douse the fire - the nearest water body was only 100 metres away from the burning houses.
Drawing attention to rising incidents of communal violence against Muslims in 1997, then member of Parliament Mulayam Singh Yadav told the House, “We have never heard of an incident like Dilerganj in history. The girls in the age group of 8-8, 14-14, 16-16 years were stripped, 31 houses of Muslims were torched in Pratapgarh…This is the first example in the world …she was cremated in Allahabad instead of Pratapgarh or Dilerganj and no enquiry has been conducted in this regard (sic).”
Hari Shankar Tiwari
Uttar Pradesh ganglord-turned-politician is now 85 years old and has not fought UP elections since his defeat in 2012. But his son Vinay Shankar Tiwari is fighting polls from Gorakhpur’s Chillupar assembly constituency on Samajwadi Party ticket. So far, among those candidates who have filed nomination, Vinay has emerged as the richest candidate with movable assets worth Rs 25.64 crore and immovable assets worth Rs 41.87 crore.
It is said that crime in politics started from Hari Shankar Tiwari, who may be old now but his clout still remains. Once upon a time in Gorakhpur, Tiwari’s sprawling mansion ‘Hata’ was the centre of power in the city.
In 1985, when there was a wave of sympathy for the Congress after the death of Indira Gandhi, Hari Shankar was lodged in jail under the Gangster Act. Despite that, he fought elections as an independent from the jail, defeated the Congress candidate and won by a huge margin.
In the 1980s, he was charged with 26 different crimes. Murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, extortion, and hindering government activity were among the offences, Tiwari was involved in. However, until today, Tiwari has not been convicted in any of the cases filed against him.
There was a time when it was said that the fortune of whichever political party Hari Shankar associated with changed. His clout spread from Ghazipur to Varanasi.
A political expert once said that after 1998, Hari Shankar had become the need of every party. Whether it was Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav or Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta or Rajnath Singh, or even Mayawati, he served in all of these regimes as a minister. Even when Jagdambika Pal became the CM for one day, he was also a minister in his cabinet.
Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Special: Live-updating IPL 2022 auction tally | IPL Mega Auction Live Updates here.