According to an analysis by the Association of Democratic Reforms, out of the 4,856 sitting MPs and MLAs analysed, about 1,024 have listed serious criminal charges

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, gangsters-turned-politicians both inside and outside of jails in Uttar Pradesh have made a beeline for party tickets, Hindustan Times has reported.

According to the report, Akshay Pratap Singh, leader of the newly-launched Jansatta Party (JP), met with gangster Atiq Ahmed in order to offer the don a ticket for Lok Sabha polls. Ahmed, who has been accused of assault and abduction, holds considerable influence in the Prayagraj region, according to the report.

Ahmed is not new to politics. He had won on a Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket from Phulpur constituency during the 2004 general elections. He had contested again in 2014 from Shrawasti but had lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate.

Another gangster-turned-politician, Mukhtar Ansari, a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator from Mau assembly constituency and currently lodged in Banda jail, might contest the upcoming national elections.

According to the report, while Ansari's ticket has not been finalised as of yet, BSP supremo Mayawati has given the green signal for his brother Afzal to contest from Ghazipur.

The report states that another don, Dhananjay Singh, is also in talks with both BSP and BJP for a ticket. Singh had earlier been an MP on BSP ticket but was expelled from the party in 2014, after which he had contested as an Independent candidate and lost the elections.

Another mafiosi, Pawan Pandey, accused in the demolition of Babri mosque, is also eyeing the Sultanpur seat. The report states that Pandey, who has earlier been an MP on a BSP ticket, has considerable sway in the Faizabad-Ambedkar Nagar region. The gangster was a member of the Shiv Sena before switching to the BSP.

Along with BSP and BJP, history-sheeters are also in race for tickets from Samajwadi Party (SP). For instance, alleged extortionist Bal Kumar Patel, brother of dacoit Dadua, is reportedly trying to contest on an SP ticket from Banda.

According to an analysis by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), out of the 4,856 sitting MPs and MLAs analysed, 21 percent — that is, 1024— have listed serious criminal charges against themselves in their affidavits. At least 64 ministers have cases of kidnapping against them.

An earlier analysis by ADR revealed that at least 48 MPs and MLAs have cases of crime against women registered against them.

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