Uttar Pradesh is India’s largest state. It sends 80 representatives to the Parliament and 404 members to the legislative assembly. It is also the state that makes or mars political fortunes at the Centre. In 2014, the NDA’s landslide was possible because it snatched 73 out of 80 seats in UP. In 2019, it would be too much to expect the BJP to repeat this feat. Its number will go down. The question is: by how much?
The coming UP assembly election will give a pointer to the future. The outcome will force the prime minister to reshape his policies so as to have a shot at securing a majority in 2019.
People vote differently for Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha...
India is a mature democracy. People vote differently in state elections and in national elections, even when the voting is on the same day. Thus we can expect the BJP to do better in the Lok Sabha than in the Vidhan Sabha. But the vote share it gets in 2017 is vital for its strategy for 2019. Hence this election is important.
Remember that in the 2012 Assembly election, BSP and the SP fought for the number one position while the Congress and the BJP fought for the third slot. However, the BJP dominated the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as its vote share went through the roof -- from 16 per cent to 43 per cent.
Experts are of the perception that the Samajwadi Party is in bad shape and that the BSP is ahead. They believe that while BJP would better its performance in 2012, it will come down heavily from the high it reached during the 2014 Lok Sabha poll.
One of the major findings of a recently conducted opinion poll for Uttar Pradesh shows that while people in UP are satisfied with the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, they are also equally pleased with the Akhilesh Yadav’s governance in Lucknow.
At the time of the survey, Muslims and Yadavs are aligned with SP while the Upper castes are with BJP. The Dalits are with BSP, but lower OBCs lean towards BJP. Likewise, SP seems to be doing better in rural areas as compared to urban while for BJP it is the other way around. In 2014, BJP had done equally well in rural and urban areas.
About 50 per cent voters think that the SP government led by Akhilesh Yadav should not get a second chance; but these votes are divided between BJP and BSP.
BJP hasn’t projected its CM candidate...
One of the things that may be hurting BJP is that they have not projected anyone as its chief ministerial candidate. When asked about whom they would like to see as chief minister, 24 per cent plumbed for Akhilesh Yadav and another 24 per cent for Mayawati. Among BJP leaders, Rajnath Singh was the choice of 7 per cent and 5 per cent went with Yogi Adityanath.
Incidentally, the Yadav government was rated positively on school and college facilities, hospital facilities, electricity supply, bus services, the pace of development, Hindu-Muslim brotherhood and job opportunities. However, they received flak on condition of farmers, drinking water supply, the state of roads, hooliganism and crime, corruption, casteism and violence.
Had elections been held in end August 2016, it would have been a hung assembly with the SP as the single largest party.
Party Predicted Vote Share( %) Predicted Seats
SP 30 141--151
BJP Plus 27 124--134
BSP 26 103--113
Congress 5 8--14
Others 12 6--12
Things could change by the time Election Day approaches!