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Home > News > PTI

LSE graduate in UP poll fray

Santosh K Joy | April 21, 2007 16:16 IST

With Rahul Gandhi vowing to work full time for Uttar Pradesh after the assembly polls, a team to aid him is already in the making and one obvious member is London School of Economics graduate Yusuf Ansari, the party's candidate in this constituency.

Ansari, 27, is the great-grandson of pre-independence Congress president Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari. He is set for a tough fight against nine others, including Samajwadi Party heavyweight Narendra Singh, when polls are held on Monday.

Like Rahul, Ansari too feels that it is time for a change in the state.

"The days of (Chief Minister) Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati are numbered. They are the Bunty and Babli of politics here. Now it's time for them to make way for change and development without any bias," he told PTI.

"I know it's a tough job but someone has to initiate things."

Ansari, a member of the state Congress committee, is the author of the widely publicised biography of party chief Sonia
Gandhi, "Truimph Of Will". The book is a compilation of events of the last 15 years, a period marked by the "Congress'
vaccuum" in Uttar Pradesh, which Rahul speaks of in all his election rallies.

A senior Congress leader, speaking on condition of anonimity, however, said: "One cannot deny that educated young
people like Ansari have a major role to play in the Congress and in state politics but there is a catch.

"He is not merely a Yusuf Ansari, rather he is 'sahabzada' Yusuf Ansari, as he is popularly known. I think
the state and the Congress today needs leaders closer to the masses, grounded to the earth."

Ansari, who joined the department of policy planning in All India Congress Committee soon after his return from
Britain, is keeping no stones unturned to ensure his berth in the Uttar Pradesh assembly.

"We as a party are committed to change and no one can stop it," he said.

The Gandhi family's efforts to ensure Ansari's victory were evident when Railway Minister Lalu Prasad of the RJD, an
UPA ally, was roped in for his campaign to compensate for Rahul's absence when he cancelled his roadshow on
Wednesday after a sudden illness. Rahul later campaigned for Ansari on Friday.

"There was a request from the top-most level to Laluji to campaign for Ansari. He was here in Ramnagar for a rally.
He not only came here at the slated time but also conducted a Rahul-style roadshow," a Congress source said.

When the results for the polls in this constituency are announced, they will provide a peep into whether the
politically important state of Uttar Pradesh is ready for an LSE graduate-turned-politician.

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