iconimg Tuesday, May 26, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 16, 2014
The BJP is all set to sweep the Hindi heartland, possibly notching up its best performance ever in parliamentary elections in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, trends from early counting of votes showed on Friday. Bearing out most exit poll projections, the BJP was leading in 31 of 52 constituencies for which trends were available in Uttar Pradesh. That meant a potential gain of 22 seats for the BJP in a state where regional heavyweight outfits such as the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party seem to be taking a big hit. The Congress appeared to be the other big loser leading in just eight seats.

Uttar Pradesh has 80 seats. BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was leading from the Varanasi constituency.

The party's performance in the state is being largely credited to a campaign led by Amit Shah, close confidante of Modi.

In Bihar, the BJP was leading in 16 of 18 seats from where trends were available. The Congress was leading in just two.

The results from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar seemed to indicate a move away from a culture of identity politics that these states are known for, voting widely in support of the development agenda projected by Modi's campaign.

The BJP was ahead in six seats in Delhi, where it had lost all seven seats in the 2009 elections.