SITAPUR, India — 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.