With the next Lok Sabha polls still some distance away, the top brass of the two main political parties in UP -- the SP and the BSP -- are reviewing the prospects of their respective candidates and seeking to make several alterations to the original list of names.
The SP leadership’s strategy in this regard was quite evident when party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav convened a meeting of SP MLA’s on April 6, where he was inundated by complaints against the party candidates.
Similarly, as part of the BSP top brass’ efforts to get a direct feedback from the grassroots level, its president Mayawati flew down here from Delhi on Sunday. And she is expected to remain here for the next few days and get a report card of the candidates handpicked by her.
The major challenge before the two parties, who are locked in a tight race for electoral supremacy space, is that if the elections are held as per schedule next year it would be well-nigh impossible for them to keep the momentum going up until the polling day.
Already, the SP has announced a list of 71 candidates and it is expected to come out with a supplementary list containing the names of the remaining candidates.
The party was the first off the blocks in short listing the candidates and the candidates were asked to visit their respective constituencies and start campaigning in the hope that the elections would be advanced.
Mulayam had cleared the list in November-December and he had hoped that the early advantage would enable party candidates to get a headstart over their political rivals.
However, the feedback he got from the party’s grassroots level proved a dampener.Earlier, the SP’s district-level leaders and local MLAs had told Mulayam that several of the candidates had not even bothered to visit their segments even once.
And the SP chief was told that former RLD leader Anuradha Chaudhary, who crossedover to the SP has shown no interest in undertaking the constituency-level campaign.
Similarly, Mulayam was filled in on the negative image of the SP candidate from Pratapgarh C N Singh, who was accused of sexually harassing a female co-passenger on a Delhi-bound train. And similar reports about the party candidates in Banda, Kanpur and Unnao were passed on to the party chief.
The BSP too is not sitting pretty on the candidates’ front, despite the fact that the party had not formally announced its candidates. Instead, the BSP had announced the names of its Lok Sabha Prabharis (in-charge of Parliamentary constituency.
BSP sources said that Mayawati would review the reports of the ‘Lok Sabha Prabharis’, and act accordingly. She is expected to hold divisional-level meetings soon with her coordinators.
Unlike the SP, the BSP has unequivocally announced that it would contest all the 80 constituencies in the state and would not share seats with anyone.
In marked contrast, the SP has already stated that it will not put up candidates against Congress president and vice president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi respectively.
If the SP chief sticks to his dream of forming the Third Front, he might be pressured by his potential political partners to give away some more seats.