Going by pre-poll performances there is little room for doubt that the Janata Dal (United) as well as the Trinamool Congress might be dismissed as mere sideshows in the Uttar Pradesh polls, but that hasn't deterred either JD(U) president Sharad Yadav or Trinamool candidates from rallying on.
Irrespective of poor turnouts — earlier this month in Basti even his party candidate did not show up — Yadav's chopper takes off every day for campaigning. In the last few months, he has already addressed 150 rallies, fighting for the party's 300 candidates.
Meanwhile, Trinamool's 154 candidates are also soldiering on, hoping party chief Mamata Banerjee will come canvassing.
Political observers say the two regional parties are crowding the state's political space to bag national party status. A party has to poll 6% votes from four or more states in a previous general or assembly election and should have at least four sitting MPs to qualify as a national party.
In Lucknow, sitting in the dilapidated party office, Yadav continues his offensive against the major players, but he isn't expecting much from the state. "Chance doge to theek hai, nahin to Ram Ram." Senior office bearer Subhash Pathak chimes in, "Our aandolan was against corruption and not to grab seats."
The Trinamool office in east Uttar Pradesh — like the party itself — is tucked way inside Bahraich and has more flags than supporters. The scene in the state capital is no better. Asked how many seats the party was hoping to win, state coordinator SP Singh says, "Please find a good astrologer. We will also know."
The 8% Yadavs of Uttar Pradesh never accepted Sharad Yadav as they had a local Yadav chieftain in Mulayam Singh Yadav. Similarly, Bengalis in the state have never been Banerjee supporters.