Two women hold the key to power in Madhya Pradesh as it goes to elections on November 25. Uma Bharati's Bharatiya Jan Shakti and Mayawati's BSP seem set to upset the otherwise polarised MP politics between the Congress and the BJP.
Uma's impressive rally on September 22 in Bhopal rattled the BJP, which was rather dismissive of her power till then.
Banking primarily on her personal charisma, she can upset the BJP applecart in the Bundelkhand region, her bastion.
The BSP, in contrast, has been preparing for the elections for the past one year under party vice president Rajaram. The party is keen to repeat UP's social engineering formula. Its community-based conventions of Brahmins and Kshatriya have attracted enough crowds to alarm the main political parties.
Till the last elections, the BSP was largely confined to Rewa and Gwalior divisions bordering UP. Now its influence has spread across the state.
If Mayawati has reached out to the upper castes, Uma's hopes are pinned on the OBCs, particularly her own Lodh caste. Together, the two can deprive the Congress and the BJP of the magic figure in the coming assembly elections.