Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's turnaround on demands favouring smaller states has stumped political observers, given the veteran leader's track record on the issue.
Yadav has supported the Vidarbha statehood demand in the past and had also been a strong votary for the creation of Jharkhand and Uttarakhand states. As chief minister of undivided Uttar Pradesh in 1994, Yadav had set up two committees to consider the statehood demand for Uttarakhand.
Two years later, the SP enlisted its commitment to the concept for the creation of smaller states in its party manifesto.
Observers feel that Yadav's vacillating posture on the statehood question emerges out of electoral compulsions, ahead of next year's crucial assembly elections in the state.
If the poll pact between the Congress and Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) works out, the combine is anticipated to be in a position of advantage - at the expense of the SP's prospects.
The RLD has been campaigning for the "Harit Pradesh" (statehood for Western UP) for the past several decades. On the other hand, the Congress can steal the show by deciding to set up the state's reorganisation committee ahead of the elections.
The Congress has strongly advocated the need for the creation of the state of Bundelkhand, but remains to come out with a forceful response to chief minister Mayawati's resolution to partition UP into four parts.
Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to start the second leg of his UP campaign from November 24.