New Delhi: The caste arithmetic of votes in Uttar Pradesh seems to be making a dent on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s final tally in the much awaited Lok Sabha elections. The IANS-CVoter Exit Poll reveals that despite the BJP’s 407 rallies in India’s biggest state, the alliance led by the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) seems to be taking away a major chunk of seats from the saffron party. The alliance(gathbandhan), as per the exit poll, could fetch 40 seats, giving a loss of 31 seats to the BJP which secured 71 out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 elections.
The BJP(NDA) has been given 38 seats in the exit poll, a figure so low that it can disappoint Prime Minister Narendra Modi who spent most time canvassing in the state. The Congress, scoring just 2, fails again to show any sign of improving its tally in a state where Priyanka Gandhi Vadra made a much hyped debut by being appointed General Secretary, in charge of Eastern UP. Congress President Rahul Gandhi(Amethi) and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi(Rae Bareli) are the two possible winners for India’s oldest party in the region dominated by the Nehru-Gandhi family for the past 70 years.
However, the BJP’s major loss in Uttar Pradesh seems to have recouped by an outstanding performance in West Bengal and Odisha. Taking West Bengal by storm, Modi and BJP Chief Amit Shah’s whirlwind campaign in the state appears to be translating into votes for the party. The IANS-CVoter Exit Poll reveals that the BJP will bag 11 seats, in the process bringing down Mamata Banerjee’s tally from 34(2014) to 29. The BJP’s strategy of focusing on Bengal and Odisha has worked well.
In Odisha, the saffron surge had a ‘Fani’ effect, where it seems to be securing 10 out of 19 seats. The last time, the BJP could manage only one seat. In fact, the BJP had been gaining momentum in the eastern state since it held its national executive in Bhubaneswar in 2017. According to a senior BJP leader, Shah had devised a special campaign plan for Modi in which 60 per cent of his rallies would be held in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.
While Uttar Pradesh was witness to a tough challenge thrown by the gathbandhan, based on the sheer arithmetic of the caste vote, the BJP still managed to get 38 seats. Party insiders say it is still an achievement as the BJP had lost all major parliamentary seats in a series of by-elections held last year. Nonetheless, the BJP managed almost half of the total seats in Uttar Pradesh, and as per the exit polls and appears to be returning to power at the Centre.