Samajwadi Party (SP) chief and Uttar Pradesh's home-grown prime ministerial aspirant Mulayam Singh Yadav has fielded several top leaders outside the state in his quest to become the kingmaker in New Delhi.
Mulayam's move to give the SP a pan-Indian image has seen him field candidates right from Kashmir to Andaman and Nicobar Islands and some of the candidates fielded outside UP have been big leaders in the past.
One of them is former Union home minister and ex-Bihar governor Buta Singh, an eight-time MP, who is contesting from Jalore in Rajasthan. Gujarati actress Kirpa Chandera in the Surat seat adds the glamour quotient in the SP ranks.
In between, there are others.
The party has already fielded over 82 candidates outside UP and its tally, including 78 in the state, has touched 160.
Besides Uttar Pradesh, the party has fielded candidates in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Gujarat.
Since its birth in 1992, the SP has remained a regional party despite emerging as the third-largest party in the Lok Sabha, after the Congress and the BJP, in 2009 elections.
SP leaders admitted that though the party had fielded candidates outside the state earlier too, it was never too serious about winning beyond UP.
Mulayam is confident of the SP becoming the largest constituent of the Third Front. He has been saying that winning half the seats in UP would make him a bigger leader than J Jayalalithaa, Mamata Banerjee or Parkash Singh Badal even if they win all the seats in their respective states.
A party leader explained the SP's keenness to break new ground.
"Netaji (Mulayam) harbours the ambition to become the prime minister by heading an alternative government. This warrants our presence beyond UP."
According to Election Commission specifications, the quickest way for the SP to get national party status is by polling 6% of the valid votes in at least three states other than UP in this LS election.