For all its teething troubles with its alliance partners, the United Progressive Front (UPA) will come within striking distance of a majority in the coming Lok Sabha elections, an early opinion poll suggests.
The Star News-Nielson Opinion Poll, after sampling 50,402 voters over the fortnight between March 5 and 17 has concluded that the UPA alliance will get 257 seats, just 25 short of a simple majority of 272 in the 543 strong Lok Sabha. The forecast for the NDA alliance is 184 seats, for the Third Front, a niggardly 96.
The survey predicts that the tally of the two biggest parties will remain almost unchanged from that is 2004. The Congress, which won 145 seats last time, is expected to get 144; the BJP, which won 139, will reach 137.
The UPA tally includes the RJD, LJP and the Samajwadi Party even though they have failed to reach a pre poll alliance with the Congress. However, if the three parties are excluded from the UPA, the UPA figure falls to 210.
In the Third Front, the Left’s tally is expected to drop sharply from 60 odd seats in the last Lok Sabha to 34 this time.
Among its prominent partners, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, Jayalalitha’s AIADMK and Chandrababu Naidu’s Telegu Desam Party will all do better than in 2004, but will still trail behind their principal rivals in their respective states.
Mayawati is expected to get 21 of Uttar Pradesh’s 80, the AIADMK nine out of Tamil Nadu’s 39, the TDP 14 out of Andhra’s 42.
(Sample Size for the Survey – 50, 402; Timeline of the survey – March 05 to March 17 2009)