New Delhi: In spite of Akhilesh Yadav’s claims of returning to power in Uttar Pradesh, an aggregate of five exit polls have predicted a second term for the BJP. Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state is always seen as the gateway to ruling India and hence victory in the Assembly elections is of primary importance to the BJP.
The BJP, the aggregate indicates, may win 232 of Uttar Pradesh’s 403 Assembly seats. The figure is well below the 300-plus predicted by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, but will be enough to see Yogi Adityanath continue as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
The polls predict that Akhilesh’s Samajwadi Party may win anything between 150 to 160 seats. The exit polls say that Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party can win 14 constituencies while the Congress will fail to achieve double digits.
Exit polls on ‘CNN News 18’, ‘Republic TV’ and ‘News X’ channels showed the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) getting 211-277 seats and its main challenger in the Samajwadi Party-led alliance getting anywhere between 119 and 160 seats in Uttar Pradesh.
The ‘CNN News 18’ exit polls predicted 262-277 seats for the BJP and allies and 119-134 for the SP and allies in the 403-member UP Assembly.
The figures projected are Monday far below the 300-plus target the BJP’s master strategist Amit Shah had set the party. Two weeks ago, the Shah had predicted that the party will easily meet the target.
In the 2017 elections in UP, the BJP completely dominated the show winning 312 of the 348 seats it contested. The SP, which was ruling the state, only got 47 of the 311 seats it contested. Mayawati’s party won 19 and the Congress only seven.
This time, the SP is hoping to win big, especially in view of the anti-incumbency against the Yogi Adityanath government, its handling of the second wave of Covid-19 and the widespread unemployment in Uttar Pradesh.
Akhilesh, who had stitched up a rainbow coalition with a number of smaller parties hoping to supplement his Muslim-Yadav support base with Other Backward Castes and Jats, had been drawing massive crowds at his rallies across the state. As expected Akhilesh dismissed the exit polls result. “Let them show whatever they have got. We are winning with a majority,” asserted the Samajwadi Party chief.