New Delhi: With Uttar Pradesh going to the first phase of the Assembly polls on February 8, key players BSP, SP, Congress and BJP are leaving no stone unturned to establish their supremacy in the key state ahead of Lok Sabha polls two years later.

As the Ayodhya fever waned, BJP is out of power from Uttar Pradesh for the past 10 years and could win some 50 odd seats in the 2007 Assembly polls.

Congress is in political wilderness there since 1989 in the wake of the Mandal and Mandir upsurge. Its tragedy got compounded with the demolition of Babri Masjid on December six, 1992.

Rahul Gandhi, projected future leader and potential prime minister, has set his eyes on Mission UP 2012 since the last Lok Sabha elections in 2009 when he succeeded in securing 22 of the 80 seats in the state, sending a shock wave among the party's detractors.

The strike rate of Congress was phenomenal as in the last Assembly elections it had secured almost an equal number of seats in the 403-member House.

Party leaders claim that Rahul will pass the test in UP with "flying colours".

"Naturally those who look forward, who are bold, those who always take risks and have confidence, pass such tests with flying colours, Rahul Gandhi is one such person," party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi remarked.

BJP leaders insist that Nitin Gadkari, whose term of party presidentship is concluding by the end of the year, is no pushover as he is making earnest efforts to turn around the party in the poll-bound UP.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar claims that the "key" to the next government formation in Uttar Pradesh will be in the hands of the BJP whose support was "crossing all expectations".

Amid talk of internal dissensions in the BJP, Javadekar insists that Gadkari has taken several key initiatives in UP including bringing people who had gone out of the party, an obvious reference to Uma Bharati, who is leading the BJP campaign in the state.

Samajawadi Party's Mohan Singh dismisses suggestions of the Congress or the BJP gaining ground in the state. "Rahul Gandhi and the BJP are visitors to the visitors gallery of UP where the SP and the BSP are the main players," he feels.

The race is on the Congress and the BJP for the third spot, he claims.

Congress's Rashid Alvi, however, disagrees as he feels that UP could throw up "surprising results" with people fed up with the 22-year-rule of non-Congress parties and are looking for development.

Assembly elections in Bihar in October 2010 were a setback for Rahul as he had virtually led the Congress in the polls and could secure only four out of the total 243 seats with Nitish Kumar-led JD-U-BJP combine shaking off the challenge easily.

On the other hand, Gadkari had received a blow in the Assam Assembly polls last year with BJP's plans to come up a winner not only came a cropper but its seats declined in the key northeastern state.