There are many political figures who are said to be mass leaders and the prominent faces of their respective parties in Uttar Pradesh. Their parties too, rely on their influence to clinch victory in the elections. They are considered to be capable in improving poll prospects of their party-candidates during electioneering. At the time of poll campaigns, they make every effort to ensure their party’s victory by holding statewide march. But when it comes to contest elections, they are also found to be relying on their caste base for their own poll-victory. Such leaders normally prefer to contest elections from the constituencies dominated by their own caste.

Let’s begin with firebrand BJP leader Sadhvi Uma Bharti. Party heavyweight and former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Uma Bharti, is star campaigner of BJP for UP elections and the party holds high expectations from her. After former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh’s, an influential backward leader, ouster from the party, BJP leadership deputed prominent backward leaders like Vinay Katiyar and Om Prakash Singh to strengthen the party’s stake on OBC castes. But finding them ineffective in serving the purpose, the party decided to rope in Uma Bharti who stepped into Kalyan Singh's shoes as she also belongs to the same Lodh caste Kalyan Singh hails. But when it came to contest elections, she chose to contest from Lodh dominated Charkhari seat in Mahoba district where the community comprises 65 percent of the total population in the area.

Another senior party leader and a major contender for the post of Chief Minister, Kalraj Mishra, too toed the same line. Mishra originally belongs to Ghazipur district and was a minister in previous BJP governments but contested for neither state Assembly nor Lok Sabha. He always chose to reach to state Legislature or Parliament through back door. His current tenure as a Rajya Sabha member expires in coming April and for the first time he is contesting for the state assembly, albeit from a Brahmin dominated Lucknow East seat. Another senior state BJP leader Om Prakash Singh, who belongs to Kurmi caste, is contesting from Chunar constituency in Mirzapur district where his community is in dominating position.

The caste-factor also guides the decisions of the leaders of other political parties. Beni Prasad Verma is one such name in the Congress camp. He is a prominent Kurmi leader from Awadh region. Verma is leaving no stone unturned to realize the Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi’s Mission 2012 which aims at ending over two decades old exile of the party from the corridors of power in UP. But he too decided to field his son Rakesh Verma from Dariyabad, a Kurmi dominated seat, in Barabanki district. Interestingly, even Beni Verma shifted his Lok Sabha constituency from Kaisarganj to Gonda in 2009 after a substantial change of caste equation in his previous constituency owing to delimitation.

State Congress Chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, a Pahari Brahmin, has also left her home constituency in Allahabad and is contesting from Lucknow Cantt seat where Pahari Brahmins are in sizable number. In 2007 Assembly elections, she received a poll set back from Allahabad South seat. Obviously her previous experience coerced her to rely on caste support this time.

Senior state SP leader and the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Shivpal Singh Yadav is also a star campaigner of the party and striving to shine the poll prospects of his party candidates. But he is contesting from Jaswantnagar seat in Etawah District which is known as a bastion of his family owing to majority of Yadav caste in the region. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav too represented the seat in the state Assembly in past.  Azam Khan, the Muslim face of Samajwadi Party, has also been representing the Muslim dominated Rampur seat in the state Assembly since long. Despite his defeat in 1977 and 1996 from here, Khan is still relying on his community vote bank to shine his political career.

Despite being projected as star campaigners of BSP, the two close aides of Chief Minister Mayawati- Satish Mishra and Naseemuddin Siddiqui- couldn’t dare to contest elections for Lower Houses. Interestingly Mishra is a Rajya Sabha MP whereas Siddiqui is a member of UP Legislative Council.

Mathura MP and the son of Jat leader Ajit Singh, Jayant Chaudhary, is originally a resident of Baghpat district but he is also contesting Assembly elections from Math seat in Mathura which is a bastion of Jats. His father and Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh also represents another Jat dominated Lok Sabha seat Baghpat. Former BJP president Rajnath Singh changed his Assembly constituency in 2002 from Lucknow’s Mahona after receiving set back here in 1993) to Barabanki’s Haidergarh seat which is Rajput dominated area. Former Faizabad MP and the national vice-president of BJP, Vinay Katiyar, shifted his constituency from Faizabad to Lakhimpur Kheri which is dominated by his own community Kurmis. Though, he failed to capitalize this factor in his favour and lost the 2009 Parliamentary elections. Sources say that even this time, the BJP leadership wanted to field him as a party candidate but Katiyar could not summon up enough courage to contest Assembly elections.