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‘Good tandoori chicken, very decent behaviour’: Rajdeep Sardesai heaps praise on gangsters Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmed

Rajdeep Sardesai said that he talked about behaviour and hospitality because audiences of the show should know other aspects of the lives of the gangsters also, as everyone already knows that they are criminals.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi government’s action against the mafia continues in Uttar Pradesh as CM Yogi recently said in the state assembly that the ‘mafias will be reduced to the ground’ (mitti mein mila denge).  The debate concerning mafias has heated up across the nation in the wake of the Prayagraj shooting incident that occurred in broad daylight and the Yogi government’s action. In such a debate on TV, Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai was seen commending Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmed during his debate show. He kept applauding them throughout the show as he recalled their hospitality.

India Today consulting editor Rajdeep Sardesai discussed his encounter with the mafia while taking part in the Netanagari show of the website and YouTube channel The LallanTop, which is part of the Indian Today group. He claimed that “I met two gentlemen in 1996 during the UP assembly elections. Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmed were two of the people. I will always remember a special thing about these two.”

He said that in the 90s, the matter of criminal-politician nexus was an ‘interesting topic’ for journalists in English media. He met the mafia don turned politicians while making a program on such people ahead of a UP election in 1996.

When Rajdeep Sardesai was speaking, pictures of Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmed were displayed on the television screen. Mesmerized by Mukhtar Ansari’s moustache, Rajdeep Sardesai claimed that “Mukhtar Ansari’s moustache makes him appear to have a distinctive character in the pictures shown on the television. But they both fed me a delicious dinner.”

Rajdeep continues by saying that unlike what one might assume after reading about these dons, both of them acted in a very courteous way. Sardesai also added that his wife Sagarika Ghose also met Atiq Ahmed. Rajedeep then describes how Atiq Ahmed met with Sagarika in a decent manner and spoke to Sagarika with ‘Tehzeeb’.

Rajdeep stated that he had reminded Atiq Ahmed that the Lok Sabha seat Phulpur, from which he had won, was the first parliamentary constituency of India’s first Prime Minister. This made Atiq chuckle. Rajdeep describes how Atiq liked to pose for pictures in front of the Nehru statue close to the Parliament house.

Rajdeep shares with curiosity the anecdotes of the connection of mafias with photographs and how photo friendly they are. Rajdeep also talked about the tandoori chicken he had at Mukhtar Ansari’s dinner. “Very good tandoori chicken. I said to Mukhtar Ansari that he makes delicious food,” Rajdeep Sardesai said.

As Rajdeep Sardesai continues talking about his interactions with the mafia dons, He is then interrupted by the show’s host, Saurabh Dwivedi, who informs him that because he is sharing personal memories on the program, the video will go viral. He also said that the discussion has taken place in the context of the recent murder of Umesh Pal, showing how Atiq Ahmed is running his criminal empire from jail. To this, Rajdeep finds nothing wrong in heaping praises on mafias like Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmed. 

Their entire discussion can be heard from the 48th minute onwards of the video.

“What is wrong with it if there isn’t a problem?” Rajdeep Sardesai responded. He said that he mentioned the tandoori chicken because audiences of the show should know other aspects of the lives of the gangsters also, as everyone already knows that they are criminals.

Even though Rajdeep may not find anything wrong in eulogizing the mafias’ decent mannerisms and tandoori chicken, it cannot be refuted that both of them have dozens of murder and other criminal cases filed against them. 52 cases have been filed against Mukhtar Ansari alone, including many murders, including that of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai.

Despite all this, it remains best known to Rajdeep only why is he trying to present a ‘positive image’ of both the gangsters before the society.

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OpIndia Staff
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