• Monday, April 15, 2024

India Elections

Modi’s party leaders predict over 74 seats from Uttar Pradesh state

Indian voters queue at a polling station to cast their vote in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh state on May 19, 2019, during the 7th and final phase of India’s general election (Photo: SANJAY KANOJIA/AFP/Getty Images).

By: Radhakrishna N S

A DAY after exit polls forecast a return of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre, enthused state BJP leaders predicted Uttar Pradesh would give them more than 74 of its 80 seats to enter lower house of the Indian parliament, a claim dismissed by the regional parties, SP-BSP whose top leaders met to discuss post-poll scenarios.

At the UP BJP office here, pointing to electoral maps of the state, detailing parliamentary and assembly constituencies, party leaders and functionaries from various districts indicated places from where SP-BSP alliance candidates would lose and claimed the SP-BSP alliance would break up after the results are announced.

As for SP-BSP, they do not agree with the projections that the NDA would get over 300 seats.    Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati appeared to be opting for a wait-and-watch policy till results are announced on May 23.

“The future course of action will be decided only after the final results are announced. Till then, she (Mayawati) will be in the state capital,” a party source said, requesting anonymity.

Multiple exit polls have suggested that the SP-BSP-RLD alliance is likely to dent the BJP’s 2014 tally in Uttar Pradesh, though it might not be enough to throw a spanner in the formation of an NDA government at the Centre.

Against the backdrop of the exit poll projections, Samajwadi Party (SP)chief Akhilesh Yadav drove to the residence of Mayawati in the morning and held talks with for about an hour.

“We (SP-BSP-RLD) should get nothing less than 55 seats as the alliance has done exceedingly well. We expect around 60 (out of 80) seats. We do not agree with exit poll projections,” another source said.

Meanwhile, with most BSP leaders preferring to remain in their districts after hectic electioneering, there was not much activity in the party camp here.

“The party leaders will come to the state capital only after May 23. They have been asked to stay in their respective districts and oversee the counting process,” a party leader said.
Roads outside the BSP office and Mayawati’s residence reflected the caution with which the party is treading.

Aiming to check the return of NDA at the Centre, Mayawati had opted to sink decades-long differences to enter into an alliance with the SP for the Lok Sabha election.  In the 2014 general election, the BJP had won 71 seats, its ally Apna Dal bagged two, the Samajwadi Party five and the Congress just two, while the BSP drew a blank.

Akhilesh Yadav went into a huddle with senior party leaders as the SP headquarters remained bereft of any enthusiasm.

The SP office here is generally abuzz with activities of party workers but it was not so this morning though some supporters were seen discussing the outcome of the alliance with the BSP and the RLD.

“The exit polls show us in a good light. Some of the polls even give us over 50 seats. We are enthused with the exit polls, but are keeping our fingers crossed till the results are out on May 23,” said Ajay Pratap Singh, a party leader from Sitapur, exuding confidence that the alliance candidate will win in his district.

A shop outside the SP office which usually does brisk business wore a deserted look with no buyers. Some said the torrid weather also played a role.

“We hope after the counting if alliance gets required the number of seats, there will be demand for flags and other materials,” said Manoj, a vendor.

A group of young people having tea at a stall outside the party office were seen busy discussing results and credibility of exit polls.

“The exit polls have given us (SP-BSP) seats from 10 to 56. They have only deepened the suspense instead of making the picture clear. We will prefer to wait and watch,” Manoj Mishra, an SP supporter, said.

As far as SP leaders are considered, they seem to endorse the decision to go for an alliance with the BSP.

“We are confident of our performance. We have made our own analysis and we know that our candidates are winning on a good number of seats,” SP MLC Rajpal Kashyap said.

The polls were divided in their prediction for the state with some like ABP-Nielsen saying that the BJP’s tally may fall to 22 from 71 while a few others like New 18-Ipsos and News 24-Chanakya tipping its tally over 60 seats.

“The BJP will accomplish its target of 74-plus seats in UP (which sends 80 members to Lok Sabha) and the SP-BSP alliance will perform very poorly,” state BJP spokesperson Chandramohan said.

Results for the general elections will be declared on May 23.

“Most exit polls have predicted a majority for the BJP-led NDA,” said Chandramohan as his colleagues remained glued to panel discussions on TV.

Making light of a meeting between Yadav and Mayawati, he said the alliance will crack on May 23. “Their days are over. They have indulged in casteist and dynastic politics and have pushed the state into backwardness,” he said.

Arranging documents his cubicle, BJP’s state unit media in-charge Manish Dixit said the elections were fought on the name and works of Modi, and under the guidance of BJP chief Amit Shah and state party president Pandey.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath recommending the sacking of SBSP leader Om Prakash Rajbhar from his cabinet was also a matter of discussion at the BJP office.

“Despite staying in alliance (NDA), Rajbhar continuously made statements against the BJP and the BJP-led UP government. He also opposed various policies of the state government,” Dilip Srivastava, a corporator from Lucknow said.

Despite the mercury hovering around 40 degrees Celsius, there was a steady flow of party leaders at the BJP office.


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