Now that voting for 47 of the 80 seats in UP is over, the trend that is emerging is that the BJP, riding the Modi wave, is heading for a boon — if not a landslide — in the state.
But can the wave get it 61 of the 80 seats in UP that party president Rajnath Singh has claimed? Well, it means a 15-20% rise in vote-share and an unprecedented jump of 45 to 50-odd seats, compared to a 17.5% vote-share and 10 seats that the BJP managed to bag in 2009.
Has the party tackled the single most important factor — the rise of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati that almost decimated it during the past two decades — effectively?
The polling trends from 47 seats indicate that barring Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Mainpuri, the parties will have fight every inch of their way. Even Lucknow, from where Rajnath Singh is contesting, won’t be a cakewalk for the party.
The BJP, however, is looking at only 22 ‘sure shot’ seats. It is fighting tough battles in 19 seats against either BSP or the SP or the Congress while six seats — Badaun, Ferozabad, Mainpuri, Kannauj, Rae Bareli and Hamirpur — appear to be ‘sure shot’ ones for its rivals.
There are still reasons for the BJP to smile. It has made major gains in all the areas that have gone to the polls during the last four phases. And in those going to the polls in the most backward region of the state, the Modi wave is catching on very fast despite caste playing a crucial role.
The BJP’s first break in UP came in 1991 when its tally rose to 51 from merely eight in 1989. Its decline began when it plunged to 29 seats from 57 in 1998 — the highest it ever bagged in the state.
The party touched its lowest point in 2004 when it won 10 seats and ended with the same tally in 2009 — with the vote share plummeting from 22 to 17%. In the 2012 assembly polls, the party failed to make any spectacular gain — it retained its third position by winning 47 seats and posting a 15% vote-share.