State Election Has Big Implications For All India

Published February 4, 2012 5:45AM (EST)

SITAPUR, India (AP) — For the past five years, one of India's most powerful and controversial politicians has ruled like a queen over the large state of Uttar Pradesh.

Now, the bottom-caste dalit leader is working to persuade voters to choose another term of her brand of communal politics in an election with broad implications for the nation as a whole.

A re-election victory for the chief minister in the seven-stage election starting Wednesday could turn her caste-based Bahujan Samaj Party from a regional oddity into a national force.

A strong showing by the Congress Party could invigorate India's national government. A poor Congress showing could cripple India's government for the last two years of its term.

By Salon Staff

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