Strongmen and gangsters in Uttar Pradesh are fond of claiming safe seats when it comes to elections, and the safe seats can be far away from home district provided they are really safe. The same idea lies with Atiq’s choice for a new seat in Kanpur for upcoming poll battle of 2017.
He will contest from Kanpur Cantt seat this time and it is around 125 kilometres from his home turf of Allahabad. Atiq had been selected as candidate by senior SP leaders who found this seat as a “comfortable” one for the don turned politician. But the real reason lies somewhere else and that is any which way related to current scenario which compelled Atiq to change location.
Seems the ghost of Raju Pal murder case had done a great damage to Atiq’s aspirations this year, not only he was forced to leave his home town Allahabad, but he was unable to search any seat in adjoining Phoolpur and Pratapgarh areas.
Raju pal Murder case-
When Atiq was elected Member of Parliament from Phoolpur seat then his assembly seat of Allahabad west got vacant. During the bye-elections, he fielded his younger brother Ashraf and BSP fielded another local strongman Raju Pal who defeated Ashraf. After a few months Raju Pal was shot dead in Allahabad’s Dhoomanganj area in January, 2005. His wife Pooja blamed gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf for the murder.
Pooja, had then got an FIR lodged against 11 people, which included Atiq, Ashraf and their supporters. When the state government transferred the investigation to UP’s Crime Branch-CID, 6 more were made accused in the supplementary charge-sheet that was filed after a few months.
Raju Pal’s murder made a dent in Mulayam Singh’s ship and in 2007 Mayawati came to power with a thumping majority. She stated taking actions against Atiq and Mulayam Singh Yadav was in no mood to bear Atiq’s weight and he suspended him from the party in the very same year.
In 2007 when Mayawati came to power, she started keeping a check on law and order situation and Ateeq was one of the notorious elements in her eyes. She ordered enquiries over him and UP STF started search operations at his hideouts. Atiq went underground for a couple of months while Mayawati ensured some more pages in his history sheet one by one.
Ashraf, was absconding with a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his head, He was later on arrested in 2011. At present, all the 17 people accused in this case are out on bail. Puja had also alleged that the UP Police have not conducted a proper investigation and several witnesses have turned hostile. She also accused the police for manipulating evidence and in 2006; she first approached the Allahabad High Court, which rejected her plea for a CBI investigation.
She later moved the Supreme Court and in January this year, the SC ordered a CBI probe and had asked the agency to conclude its investigation preferably within six months. The time period is over by now and Puja expects a transparent report which might be sour for Atiq and his fellows.
Not only Atiq had lost hold at his favourite Allahabad West seat but he is even unable to manage any safe seat for his younger brother Ashraf. All of the 12 seats of Allahabad district which are South, West, North, Soranv, Phoolpur, Pratapur, Handiya, Jhoonsi, Koranv, Bara, Meja and Karchhana are not safer for any of the brothers in current scenario.
Ashraf’s fate is still in a state of confusion and Atiq is searching a seat for him in Pratapgarh, in case he fails to find one, the Ashraf will be rested this year and he might become a contestant in 2019 elections. Apart from this, Atiq is facing a tough challenge from a fellow SP leader Saeed Ahmed who is also a strongman from Allahabad and a SP MLA from Phoolpur. Saeed is gradually claiming the stronghold in Allahabad region and Atiq has no answer for his steps.
Kanpur Cantt a BJP stronghold- Although SP think-tank had taken this step for choosing this seat for Atiq after a long round of consideration and calculations. But even though this seat comprises of 55 percent muslim voters it is being won by BJP from past 25 odd years. SP insiders claim that the “Gaddi” population among the muslims in this seat will connect them with Atiq who is of same clan, but deep down the line, it looks like SP had given Atiq a tough fort to conquer.
Satish Mahana of BJP was elected as MLA from this seat for regular 5 terms and when he changed his seat in 2012, BJP fielded Raghunandan Singh Bhadauria who got elected in 2012 despite a great SP wave. BJP is still assured about getting victory this time and sitting MLA Bhadauria says” Even if they give ticket to Abu salem or Dawood Ibrahim, the voters will opt for BJP, even the muslim brothers vote for us due to our vision and development agenda.”