UP Exit Polls Predict a Win for BJP Despite Tough Fight By SP, Farmers' Protests

As per at least five exit polls, the BJP is likely to win between 225 and 325 seats out of the total 403.

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Despite facing a spirited challenge from the Samajwadi Party (SP) and its allies, as well as the farmers’ protest, it appears the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will comfortably form the government in Uttar Pradesh (UP) like it did in 2017, as per exit polls.

As per at least five exit polls, the BJP is likely to win between 225 and 325 seats out of the total 403.

Meanwhile, the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP, which is the main challenger, looks set to only get between 71 and 157 seats out of 403, clearly falling short of the majority. Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) continues to struggle with 2 to 21 seats, as per exit polls.

The Congress, which was facing an uphill task but was buoyed by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s overtures with women empowerment, is predicted to get 1-9 seats.

On 7 March, the last of the votes for the state assembly election were cast, ending a high-decibel poll season in UP. In 2017, of the 403 seats, the BJP-led alliance National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 325 seats, and on its own, the BJP had won 312 seats.


Exit Poll-Wise Prediction

As per the India Today-Axis My India exit poll, and the News24-Today’s Chanakya exit poll, the BJP is set to sweep the election in UP, with the former predicting 288-326 seats, and the latter predicting 294 (+/-19). As per Axis, the SP will get 71-101 seats, the Congress will barely get 1-3 seats, and the BSP will manage between 3-9 seats.

Chanakya, on the other hand, has given an even more generous prediction to the BJP with 294 seats, with plus or minus 19 seats. Unlike Axis, however, it has predicted slightly more seats for the SP with a 105-seat figure, plus or minus 19 seats. The BSP and Congress numbers, as per Chanakya, are depressing with one and two seats, respectively.

Times Now-Veto, Zee News-DesignBoxed, and ABP-C-Voter have given more conservative, although majority, figures for the BJP in comparison to the above two – with 225, 223-248, and 228-244 seats, respectively.


BJP Likely to Win Comfortably in UP. Why?

The farmers’ protest was a big obstacle in front of the BJP, one that threatened to derail the preferred narrative for the party. The BJP, however, seems to have nullified it, at least as per some exit polls. The SP-Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chemistry has not taken off despite their tough fight. Even though, RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary emerged as the face of western UP, the exit polls paint a sorry picture for the SP-RLD in western UP.

The BJP’s welfare schemes such as free ration, its strong publicity of handling of COVID-19, and its incessant Hindutva push, combined with the SP’s past tag of gunda raj have cemented its position in UP as the possible winner.

Issues such as unemployment, inflation, stray cattle menace which affected people across the state, and the resultant anger among the youth does not seem to have the desired electoral result for the Opposition.


The OBC Vote

Since 2014, the BJP has successfully mobilised large sections of the non-Yadav OBC and the non-Jatav Dalits, along with its core upper-caste vote bank under the plank of Hindu consolidation.

The BJP’s strategy was based on creating and furthering antagonism towards the Yadavs and Muslims – the communities which form the base of the SP.

To counter this, Akhilesh Yadav forged an alliance with half a dozen smaller backward caste-based parties to create a rainbow caste alliance and shed its image of being a party that allegedly patronises the Yadavs. Apart from Akhilesh, RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party’s (SBSP) Om Prakash Rajbhar led the two fronts of the alliance in the west and in the east, respectively.

As per Axis exit poll, of the 139 seats in eastern UP (Ballia, Azamgarh, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, among others), the BJP is predicted to get 96 seats, and the SP only 36.

In the west, as per this exit poll, in the Doab region (Baghpat, Meerut, Bulandhshahr, Noida, Muzaffarnagar, among others), the BJP is predicted to get 34 of the 44 seats, and the SP only 9.

The SP is banking heavily on the success of these two fronts but if the exit poll numbers hold true on 10 March, it would mean that the BJP once again has managed to draw a longer line than the SP. It’s pertinent to remember that in 2019, even though Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati had come together, they couldn’t withstand Modi’s charisma and welfare schemes.

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Topics:  BJP   Akhilesh Yadav   BSP 

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