Lucknow : Gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED) on Monday formally merged with the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in January next year. The merger is expected to help the Samajwadi Party to get a tighter hold on the Muslim vote bank. Besides, it will also help the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led party to build a stronger base in eastern Uttar Pradesh region.
"QED has merged with SP which would strengthen the party," SP spokesman and senior Cabinet Minister Shivpal Yadav said. SP state in-charge and senior UP minister Shivpal Yadav and QED’s president Afzal Ansari announced the merger at a press conference. Afzal said that the party decided to merge with SP as it wants like-minded parties to come on one platform to deal with communal forces.
Senior SP leader and cabinet minister Balram Yadav met Afzal before the Vidhan Parishad and Rajya Sabha polls, asking him to extend his support to the party. QED supported SP in Vidhan Parishad and Rajya Sabha elections. QED has two MLAs – Mukhtar Ansari from Mau Sadar and Sigbatullaha Ansari from Mohammadabad Yusufpur seat. Both are Afzal’s brother. Mukhtar currently is in jail. When asked that the party shunned criminal-turned-politician DP Yadav but joined hands with Mukhtar, Shivpal said: “We have not inducted him into the party.”