As caste continues to dominate the poll arena and main rivals indulge in pointed attacks, a number of major issues failed to catch the attention of mainstream political parties and the electorate alike in the state. Regional disparities, demand for a separate Bundelkhand, Purvanchal and Harit Pradesh, hunger deaths, etc are some causes that found no champions.
Throughout the seven phases of assembly elections that come to an end next week, major parties have focused their attack on the Mulayam Singh Yadav government, terming the regime as 'goonda raj' and making poll issues out of the state's backwardness, corruption and misuse of funds. Though most political parties have made tall promises to lure the voters, the Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal did not even bring out their election manifesto.
The BSP has relied only on party supremo Mayawati's appeal to voters and her attacks on Mulayam telling people that she would send the latter to jail if the BSP were voted to power.
Besides such attacks, leaders have also used the forum of election meetings to reply to charges leveled against them or their governments. The CM has often asked the electorate to vote for his party to thwart attempts to send him to jail. He also went to Rae Bareli and addressed a public meeting there to reply to charges Sonia Gandhi had leveled against him at an election rally in Etawah.
"Barring the Samajwadi Party, all other major political parties have a soft corner for the Bundelkhand cause," said Raja Bundela who heads the Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha. Only candidates associated with the cause of a separate Bundelkhand State were getting people's support, he said, adding that even BSP chief Mayawati has assured the people to take up the demand of a separate state if the Bahujan Samaj Party was voted to power in the state.
BSP candidate Badshah Singh has even formed Bundelkhand Insaaf Sena to support the cause of Bundelkhand state, he said. "I contested the 2004 Lok Sabha election as a Congress candidate. The Congress President Sonia Gandhi had assured me to consider the demand if I won the election," said Bundela.
The Poorvanchal Banao Manch Secretary Anjana Prakash said her organisation was only building pressure on political parties to take up the issue of a separate Poorvanchal state. "The Centre should move a proposal to create Poorvanchal state," she said, adding smaller states were always better for development.
"We are trying to evolve a consensus over the issue," she said, adding that the political parties were only interested in indulging in caste politics. Besides caste other factors working in the poll include the anti-incumbency factor, she said. "Such parties only want to win the elections. Be it on the caste issue or by offering allurements including money," she said.
Similarly, the demand for a separate Harit Pradesh also failed to catch attention of the voters in the ongoing poll. The RLD is probably the only mainstream party that has openly taken up the issue of UP's reorganisation on its agenda.
"We are committed to the reorganisation of UP if the RLD formed or became a part of next government," said the RLD leader Anil Dubey. In parts of Bundelkhand some organisations did indulge in wall writing to press creation of Bundelkhand but there were no visible signs about demand for the creation of Harit Pradesh in Western UP.