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Why it may not be a bad outing for the BJP in UP after all

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New Delhi, May 08: One of the main factors behind the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) storming to power in 2014 was their performance in Uttar Pradesh where the saffron party won 73 out of the 80 seats. The BJP would like to repeat the performance in the politically most important state even this time around, but the equations in 2019 are different.

Why it may not be a bad outing for the BJP in UP after all

The BSP and SP have joined hands and are set to give a stiff fight to the BJP. The vote share data from the last election shows that SP-BSP combined got more votes than the BJP in 2014, and this was probably one of the reasons Akhilesh and Mayawati decided to stitch an alliance. The Congress is going solo in UP and Priyanka Gandhi has been made in-charge of the Eastern UP, and she is bound to have an impact.

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The opinion polls and surveys show that the BJP may not be able to win as many seats in Uttar Pradesh as it did last time. The shortfall could be as many as 20 seats. Almost all the major surveys that came out before the MCC came into effect predicted that the BJP may win anywhere between 45-55 seats out of the 80 seats in UP. This shortfall would hurt the saffron party.

We spoke to a veteran journalist who has been following the politics of Uttar Pradesh for over two decades, and he told OneIndia that things may not turnout to be that bad for the BJP as surveys have predicted.

Significant changes have taken place in the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh in the last few weeks. An alliance, in this case SP-BSP, would work well if there is effective vote transfer. This means that on seats where one ally is contesting, the other alliance partner must convey effectively to their voters that they are in alliance and they should vote for their ally. Will this actually happen on the ground? Will the BSP voters vote for SP where Mayawati has not fielded candidates?

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"The BJP may win 60 seats in Uttar Pradesh. As per my sources, Mayawati is not willing to transfer votes to SP in seats where BSP is not contesting. Mayawati wants to emerge as a kingmaker and wants to play a major role in next government formation. She wants to have more say and wants to win more seats than SP at any cost," the veteran journalist told us.

Now, if the BSP voters refrain from voting for SP in some seats, then what options do they have? It largely has to be a choice between the BJP and the Congress. In 2014, the Dalits and OBC had voted for the BJP in good numbers which was an important reason for BJP's thumping performance, and it also explains why the BSP drew a blank. The veteran journalist said that the upper caste votes, and a combination of Dalit and OBC votes is likely to propel the BJP to 60 seats mark.

When asked that even with 60, there would be a short fall of 13 seats. He said that it can come from West Bengal and Odisha. Last time, the BJP won just two seats in Bengal, it may go up to around 5-7 seats this time. In Odisha, BJP may win up to five seats.

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The BJP's performance in West Bengal is likely to be better this time around. In 2014, BJP's vote share increased by almost 10 percent compared to 2009.

Also, in West Bengal, the BJP has carefully poached leaders from the other parties to create an anti-Mamata. At least a dozen of BJP's Lok Sabha candidates in West Bengal are 'imports' from other parties.

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