The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared on course for a two-thirds majority in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, the first time in three decades that the same party would be in power both in India’s largest state and at the Centre.
Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP was seen as leading in 298 of the state’s 403 assembly seats. The Samajwadi Party-Congress combine was way behind with 75 and the Bahujan Samaj Party a distant third with 21.
If the trends hold, this would be the third straight majority government in the state, bucking exit poll predictions that saw a hung assembly. In 2012, the SP won a clear majority and in 2007, the BSP cleared the halfway mark on its own.
“UP has not seen the same’s party’s full majority government both here and at the centre since 1980. I see we are heading back towards that now,” says SK Dwivedi, a political analyst and retired head of department of Lucknow University’s political science department.
The trends indicated that Modi’s personal popularity had trumped local factors, helping the BJP repeat its bumper Lok Sabha performance, when it won 71 out of the state’s 80 seats.
If the trends hold, this will be a big personal defeat for chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who fought off adversaries within his family to take control of the party and then pushed for an alliance with the Congress.
The trends also spell doom for Mayawati, whose Dalit-Muslim alliance seeming to have come a cropper.