fast-tracked preparations by political parties in Uttar Pradesh a
signal that the Lok Sabha elections may be held earlier than
Even as the Congress-led UPA says that the elections will be held
"on schedule" in 2014, hectic spadework by the Congress, the
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) appears to
The BSP and SP are key to the survival of Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh's government. Speculation is rife that polling might be held
While the BSP has named 75 percent of its Lok Sabha candidates,
the SP has declared most candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in
which SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav hopes to be "king" rather
Party insiders say the SP is for now posturing as
anti-establishment and wants its confused supporters to realise
they have started keeping a distance from the United Progressive
"Our Netaji (as Mulayam is known as) is very clear that we are not
in sync with the Congress but support it to stop communal forces
from taking power," says Prisons Minister Rajendra Chowdhary, also
the SP's state spokesman.
The verbal barbs from central Steel Minister and Congress leader
Beni Prasad Verma have only contributed to the drift between the
two parties, a leader says.
Following the realization that the two cannot cling on to each
other for too long, the SP has started preparing for the Lok Sabha
It has held three major conventions, including one for Brahmins
and upper castes, in an attempt to address their reported
disillusionment with the SP government.
Mulayam Singh Yadav has also announced that on the lines of the
criminal cases being withdrawn against 'innocent' Muslims, cases
slapped on Brahmins would also be taken aback.
Mayawati, on her part, has finalized the political strategy of her
party for the Lok Sabha polls.
Party strategists told IANS that while the BSP chief would target
the SP misrule, she would also reserve some vitriol for the
"Behenji knows very well that the days of the Congress are
numbered and that she will have to compete with the SP to win
maximum number of Lok Sabha seats from UP," says a party leader.
In sync with this line, the party has begun mending fences and
building bridges with Muslims, who deserted her in the 2012
assembly polls when she lost badly to SP.
The party is also ready with a back-to-back programme of Brahmin
conventions in the 36 Lok Sabha constituencies where candidates
have been announced.
The first phase kicked off Saturday in Poorvanchal from the
Khalilabad Lok Sabha seat. The BSP holds 19 seats in the outgoing
Of the 36 seats in Poorvanchal, the BSP is trying to revive the
magic of its social engineering and has fielded 19 Brahmin
candidates this time.
"Experience would show the Brahmin community that BSP is their
biggest friend," says Bhisma Shankar Tiwari, the local BSP
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has 10 seats in
the current Lok Sabha, plans to "at least double its seats" and is
busy oiling its organisational structure.
Congress too has begun preparations for the general elections and
is kicking off a 'divisional karyakarta sammelans' from May 14 to
The brainchild of Nirmal Khatri, the state Congress president,
these conventions are aimed at connecting with the workers.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)