Though the smaller parties do not seem to make substantial poll gains in the UP assembly elections, they could appear as spoilsport for major players like the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.

In Eastern UP, many small parties have come up in the electoral battle, which could change political calculation. The Quami Ekta Dal, the Peace Party, the Bharatiya Samaj Party, the Apna Dal are being viewed as dark horses in the eastern part of UP. The Jankranti Party (Nationalist), The Rashtriya Parivartan Dal and many others are supposed to twist the poll results in the western UP. Film actor-turned-politician Raja Bundela is trying to brighten his political fortune by floating the Bundelkhand Congress.

In western UP, former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh’s Jankranti Party (Nationalist) has fielded its candidates for 258 seats and former CM’s son Rajveer Singh is contesting from his father’s traditional seat Dibai in Bulandshahar district. Rajveer Singh happens to be the national chief of the party. His wife and sitting MLA of Atrauli Assembly seat is once again trying her luck from here. Kalyan Singh is still believed to be influential in these districts of western UP where his candidates are posing strong challenge to the candidates of other parties like the SP, the BSP, the BJP and the Congress.

Controversial politician DP Yadav, against whom many criminal cases pending, is contesting from Badaun as the Rashtriya Parivartan Dal candidate. DP Yadav was willing this time to join SP and many senior party leaders have given their approval for this, but in the last moment, his entry was opposed by UP SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. Former UP minister Haji Yaqoob Qureshi has this time joined hands with Chaudhary Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal. Shikohabad sitting MLA Ashok Yadav has this time fielded his wife Neelam Yadav as JDU nominee. Janwadi Socialist Party of Dr Sanjay Chauhan has struck a deal with the BJP on four seats but its candidates are also being seen on other seats. Anupriya Patel, the daughter of Apna Dal patriarch Sonelal Patel, is contesting from Rohania seat of Varanasi as the party nominee.

Notably patriarchs, chiefs and founders of many new parties are also contesting from several constituencies of the state assembly. Om Prakash Rajbhar, the founder of Bhartiya Samaj Party, personally never contested any election since the foundation of his party. But this time he is contesting from Zahoorabad constituency in Ghazipur district. He has fielded his wife Taramani as party nominee from Rasra assembly constituency in Ballia district. After the polling for the second phase, it has been revealed that Rajbhar has disturbed the poll prospects of Congress candidate Surendra Singh and SP MLA Shadab Fatimi. His wife Taramani has created troubles for former MP and Congress nominee Babban Rajbhar and BJP candidate Ramikbal Singh.

By floating Quami Ekta Dal, dreaded mafia-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari is contesting from Mau Sadar seat which he is representing in the outgoing assembly. He is also in the fray from Ghoshi seat against present BSP minister Fagu Chauhan. Mukhtar’s brother Sibghatullah Ansari is contesting from Mohammadabad constituency where he has thrown tough challenge to the candidates of main stream parties. In Khalilabad seat, which went to polls in the first phase, Peace Party chief Dr Ayub is presenting tough challenge for SP candidate and three -time MLA Abdul Kalam. Leaders of the smaller parties are claiming that those who are denying their importance in illusion and actually denying the ground reality. Significant rise in voters’ participation is expected to be encouraging for these new players of the state politics.

Track record of smaller parties

Smaller parties like the Apna Dal and the Bhartiya Samaj Party had last time influenced the poll prospects of many candidates of the major parties. The Apna Dal had struck a pre-poll deal with the BJP and contested 39 seats but failed to win even a single seat. The party candidates lost their deposits on 29 seats out of the total 39 seats contested by the party. Bhartiya Samaj Party of Omprakash Rajbhar had fielded its 97 candidates. But only three candidates were able to secure their deposit. Despite their dismal performance, the candidates of these two parties changed equations in at least 25 constituencies. Another smaller party Lokhind Party of Dr Masood had polled 0.43 percent of the total vote-share but its candidates had influenced poll results in as many as 74 seats. The Rashtriya Parivartan Dal had secured 0.20 percent votes by contesting 14 seats. Indian Justice Party of Dr Udit Raj which contested 121 seats had also secured 0.43 percent votes.