The Congress has launched an aggressive election campaign in Uttar Pradesh, but its potential ally, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), is unable to use its firepower because it does not know whom to target.
With the Congress taking time to give its nod for an alliance, an uncertain RLD has not been able to plan a formal campaign.
According to sources, the RLD's star campaigners, party president Ajit Singh and Jayant Chaudhary, are finding it difficult to chalk out their campaign programmes.
The sources added the RLD heavyweights were not sure if the Congress would be a friend or foe in the assembly elections due in the first half of 2012.
"Our leaders are waiting for the final response from the Congress. As of now, we do not know whom to target in speeches," said a senior RLD leader.
Finding itself tongue-tied, the RLD has also failed to declare seats for its candidates, choosing to defer the decision in anticipation of an alliance with the Congress.
The Congress, meanwhile, is preparing to come out with its third list of candidates.
The problem for the RLD, which commands influence in western UP and has often been of significance in the formation of governments in the state, is there aren't too many suitors lining up.
According to a political observer, the RLD's alliance prospects are limited to the Congress because the Samajwadi Party has declared almost all its seats and partnering the Bharatiya Janata Party is unlikely because Singh has frequently spoken out against it.
"We will fight the assembly polls on our own if we fail to forge a partnership with the Congress and we are prepared for that eventuality. But the uncertainty must end," said another RLD leader.
The RLD leaders, however, believe the alliance is bound to happen. The Congress, they argue, needs the alliance as much as they do. They feel the Congress may not have been able to discuss the alliance owing to its preoccupation with the poll campaign launched by general secretary Rahul Gandhi from Phulpur on Monday.
"We are hoping for an early announcement now," RLD state general secretary Anil Dubey said.