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BJP upbeat after Phase II

The BJP’s hopes of staging an upset for the Congress and its allies rose with the end of the second phase of polling.

delhi Updated: Apr 24, 2009 01:14 IST
Shekhar Iyer

The BJP’s hopes of staging an upset for the Congress and its allies rose with the end of the second phase of polling on Thursday.

Party strategists saw voting for the 140 seats as not very favourable for the Congress and its allies, which is significant for in the outgoing House they held 92 against the NDA’s 48. To retain its lead of 2004, the Congress needs to win most of the 140 seats.

The first phase, involving 124 seats, too hadn’t been very good for the UPA, claimed BJP managers.

“Our reports show the Congress is performing badly in Andhra Pradesh. In Assam, we will win 11 seats along with our ally AGP,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, adding: “In Maharashtra, we have progressed while in Karnataka we are improving our 2004 record.”

With polling over in 12 states and partially completed in 17 states, he said the field reports were encouraging. “Except for Kerala, where the BJP may get just one of the 11 seats contested, the party is expecting good results for itself and the allies in all states that went to the polls.”

The BJP’s calculation was based on the Congress banking on Andhra Pradesh for its number in the Lok Sabha. “The Congress is losing heavily not only in the Lok Sabha elections — to get not even half of the 29 seats it won last time — but it will also lose power in the state as there may be a hung Assembly and our party will hold the key to power.”

He claimed the BJP would sweep the polls in Jharkhand and “hold out” in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The BJP could also bag the two seats in Goa. The BJP and its ally JD(U) were expected to win 19 of the 26 seats that have gone to polls in Bihar.

A day earlier, GVL Narsimha Rao, who joined the BJP as its psephologist, had factored nine reasons for his analysis. The foremost being that it is the BJP that has been setting the poll agenda and the Congress is engaged in just responding to the issues.

Other factors that weighed in his analysis to predict the NDA’s revival was absence of strong anti-BJP sentiments among Muslims voters and emergence of anti-Congressism among the UPA allies as well as parties that make the Third front.