Battle for supremacy in UP begins on Feb 8

As the Ayodhya fever waned, BJP is out of power from Uttar Pradesh for the past 10 years and could win some 50 odd seats in the 2007 Assembly polls.

New Delhi: With Uttar Pradesh going to the
first phase of the Assembly polls on February 8, key players
BSP, SP, Congress and BJP are leaving no stone unturned to
establish their supremacy in the key state ahead of Lok Sabha
polls two years later.

As the Ayodhya fever waned, BJP is out of power from
Uttar Pradesh for the past 10 years and could win some 50 odd
seats in the 2007 Assembly polls.

Congress is in political wilderness there since 1989 in
the wake of the Mandal and Mandir upsurge. Its tragedy got
compounded with the demolition of Babri Masjid on December
six, 1992.

Rahul Gandhi, projected future leader and potential prime
minister, has set his eyes on Mission UP 2012 since the last
Lok Sabha elections in 2009 when he succeeded in securing 22
of the 80 seats in the state, sending a shock wave among the
party`s detractors.

The strike rate of Congress was phenomenal as in the last
Assembly elections it had secured almost an equal number of
seats in the 403-member House.

Party leaders claim that Rahul will pass the test in UP
with "flying colours".

"Naturally those who look forward, who are bold, those
who always take risks and have confidence, pass such tests
with flying colours, Rahul Gandhi is one such person," party
spokesman Abhishek Singhvi remarked.

BJP leaders insist that Nitin Gadkari, whose term of
party presidentship is concluding by the end of the year, is
no pushover as he is making earnest efforts to turn around the
party in the poll-bound UP.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar claims that the "key" to
the next government formation in Uttar Pradesh will be in the
hands of the BJP whose support was "crossing all

Amid talk of internal dissensions in the BJP, Javadekar
insists that Gadkari has taken several key initiatives in UP
including bringing people who had gone out of the party, an
obvious reference to Uma Bharati, who is leading the BJP
campaign in the state.

Samajawadi Party`s Mohan Singh dismisses suggestions of
the Congress or the BJP gaining ground in the state.

"Rahul Gandhi and the BJP are visitors to the visitors’ gallery of UP where the SP and the BSP are the main players," he feels.

The race is on the Congress and the BJP for the third
spot, he claims.

Congress`s Rashid Alvi, however, disagrees as he feels
that UP could throw up "surprising results" with people fed up
with the 22-year-rule of non-Congress parties and are looking for development.

Assembly elections in Bihar in October 2010 were a
setback for Rahul as he had virtually led the Congress in the
polls and could secure only four out of the total 243 seats
with Nitish Kumar-led JD-U-BJP combine shaking off the
challenge easily.

On the other hand, Gadkari had received a blow in the
Assam Assembly polls last year with BJP`s plans to come up a
winner not only came a cropper but its seats declined in the
key northeastern state.