Lok Sabha elections 2019: Three things to watch out for in the results
After having swept the state in 2014, the BJP faces its strongest challenge in Uttar Pradesh with a formidable opposition alliance.Updated: May 23, 2019 08:57 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The outcome of the general elections in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha will be keenly followed. While the BJP’s tally was expected to come down from the 71 seats it won in 2014 in Uttar Pradesh, the party is expected to make gains in West Bengal and Odisha. The Congress had been confident of making gains in the states that it rules but the exit polls indicated that BJP was ahead.
Outcome in Uttar Pradesh:
After having swept the state in 2014, the BJP faces its strongest challenge here with a formidable opposition alliance. Put together, the SP-BSP-RLD social base of Yadavs, Muslims, Jatavs and Jats (in western UP) could outnumber, on paper, the BJP’s social coalition in a range of seats. The party, however, has banked on Modi’s popularity, its own support base of upper castes, smaller OBC and Dalit groups, and its organisational might to take on the challenge. The state sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha.
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Battles of West Bengal and Odisha:
Anticipating losses in UP and some other states, the BJP focused on expanding its presence in Bengal, which sends 42 Lok Sabha MPs. It has successfully become the principal opposition force in the state, and most observers believe its vote share will increase. The question, however, is if this will result in an increase in seats, and to what extent. In Odisha, too, the BJP launched a campaign offensive to wrest seats away from the BJD. Together, in 2014, the BJP had only won three of the 63 seats in the two states. The outcome today will be a measure of how much the party has penetrated the minds and hearts of people in the east.
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Direct Congress battle:
It is largely in the states where the BJP and the Congress are in a direct battle that the Modi wave and the anti-incumbency of 2014 swept aside the Congress, reducing it to its lowest tally of 44 seats in the House. The Congress has been confident that it will make substantial gains in these states, but the exit polls indicate that BJP is still way ahead. These states include Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra (where both BJP and Congress have allies), Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand (where the Congress leads a broad opposition front), and Karnataka (where Congress is in power with Janata Dal -Secular). Together, these 10 states account for close to 200 seats.
First Published: May 23, 2019 07:40 IST