Senior Analyst Surjit Bhalla predicted landslide victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh but his forecast is based on voting pattern and party's vote shares over the years. The BJP won, he said, a plurality of the votes in three state elections - 1991, 1993 and 1996 - and average vote share was 32 per cent.
However, in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the party's vote share jumped to 43 per cent. While for the same period the SP and BSP both averaged around 25 per cent, regardless of whether it was a state or national election. Bhalla said that what was different in 2014 was the emergence of Narendra Modi as the leader of the BJP. And according to him, voters in UP could vote in same fashion. "Though some loss in the 2014 BJP vote share is likely," he wrote.
He refuted some of the propositions that say UP could repeat Bihar after Congress joined hands with Samajwadi Party. He said: "Unlike Bihar, a major third party, the BSP, is not part of the alliance."
He also said if the 2017 votes are a replica of the 2014 vote, a Bihar-like Maha Gathbandhan (SP + BSP + INC) would result in a resounding victory for the MG - 263 seats. "But 2017 is a three-way fight - BJP+, BSP, and G - and three-way fights should not be confused with two-way match-ups. Going from MG to G, the "alliance" is able to win only 78 seats with the BJP winning 317, and the BSP winning only eight seats," he concluded.
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Noted Journalist Swaminathan Aiyar said the politics in Uttar Pradesh is not local. "If a wind is blowing from Maharashra and Gujarat through Punjab and Haryana into Odisha, can UP be immune? No, politics in UP today is not local. There is little support for any local BJP leader. The chant you hear everywhere is "Modi, Modi, Modi."
According to Aiyar the demonetisation has strengthened Modi's charisma. Aiyar referred to Maharashtra and Gujarat's recent municipality's results. In Maharashtra, the BJP captured eight of 10 municipal corporations. In Gujarat, the BJP won 107 of 123 municipalities and panchayats.
"It is first and foremost a political move to capture the political high ground, by taking on the dishonest rich in a blunt way that no professed socialists and communists have done. It has strengthened Modi's charisma, that intangible characteristic that defies easy definition but is enormously powerful, like that of a rock star," Aiyar writes in The Times of India.
Senior Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai who covered UP elections extensively predicted election result by saying 'I am putting my neck on the line once again and forecasting a likely BJP win in Uttar Pradesh'.
In a seemingly 'wave-less' election where 403 constituencies are witnessing fierce competition almost everywhere, this may be a big call to make. But there is reason to believe that the lotus is poised to bloom in the country's most politically prized state, he writes in Hindustan Times.
He also trashed Bihar-like Mahagathbandhan argument and said: "This is a false comparison: In Bihar, we had a broad anti-BJP 'maha-gatbandhan' (grand alliance), which meant that there was a bipolar contest and at even 34 per cent of the vote, the BJP was pushed to a poor second place. In UP, by contrast, we have a tough triangular fight: Had the two principal players Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav fought together like Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad did in Bihar, the BJP would have struggled to make an impact. The Congress, by contrast, in UP is still a 'kamzor kadi' or weak link in the alliance."
He explained how the aggressive Yadav and minority support for the Akhilesh-Rahul combine only accelerated the counter polarisation. "As a result, a new Hindutva alliance is being cemented where upper caste interests are being aligned to the numerically large most backward castes and even non-Jatav dalit aspirations. Hindutva politics based on anti-Muslim propaganda and 'hope' embodied in the Modi persona offer a deadly combination: The UP voter may well be intoxicated by it this time," Sardesai said.
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