The Uttar Pradesh elections promise to be a close contest. Despite's Rahul Gandhi's salvos against Mayawati, the BSP leader and Chief Minister still enjoys strong support in the state. Meanwhile, corruption remains a big issue with all parties trading charges.
Corruption will be a major issue for the Mayawati government as it gets ready to face the Assembly polls. The Chief Minister has tried to counter this charge by removing tainted ministers from her government.
Congress icon Rahul Gandhi has taken the fight to both the BSP and the BJP. Dubbing former BSP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha as one of the most corrupt ministers, he attacked the BJP for looking to induct a 'tainted' minister. Rahul's salvos have generated a lot of media attention but will they translate into votes?
Despite having no shortage of supporters, the Chief Minister is facing voter ire on issues like power cuts, and water shortages. It remains to be seen how much these issues will hurt her at the polls.
Mayawati will also have to contend with Samajwadi party leader and former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.
In the run-up to the polls, the Election Commission has ordered the plethora of Mayawati statues and elephants in UP to be covered as per the Model Code of Conduct. Whether or not this will play a factor remains to be seen.