Maya, Rahul stumped; SP back in power in UP?

Exit polls and post-poll surveys have indicated that the Samajwadi Party will emerge as the single largest party in UP Assembly elections in 2012.

Manisha Singh

Though the fate of candidates and parties may have been sealed in EVMs and will be revealed only on March 06, exit polls and post-poll surveys have indicated that the Samajwadi Party will emerge as the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections this year and the BSP is going down in a major way.

As per the Headlines Today exit poll SP will get 195-210 seats in the House of 403, BSP 88-98, Congress+ 38-42 and BJP 50-56 seats. The Samajwadi Party had gone down the 100 figure mark in 2007, winning 98 seats.

According to Star News-AC Nielsen exit poll, BSP will get 83 seats, a sharp drop from its current tally of 206, SP – 183, BJP – 71 and Congress – 62. The Congress bagged 22 seats last time around and the BJP’s tally was 51 in 2007.

CNN-IBN-CSDS has predicted a simple majority for the SP. It has given 232-250 seats to SP, 65-79 to BSP, 36-44 to Congress and 28-38 to BJP. Also as per the CNN-IBN-CSDS survey, the SP was tipped to get an estimated 34% of vote share, BSP – 24 %, BJP – 14 % and Congress 12 %. Clearly, it seems that Rahul’s relentless campaigning has not paid rich dividends for the grand old party.

The exit poll by News 24-Chanakya gave SP 185 seats, BSP – 85, Congress+ - 55 and BJP – 55. Meanwhile, India TV-CVoter exit poll also put the Samajwadi Party at the top spot giving it gave it 137-145 seats, BSP – 122-130, BJP – 79-87 and Congress+ – 36-55.

The rainbow coalition of caste, seems to have deserted Mayawati this time around and advantage may have gone Mulayam’s way for whom, both the Yadavs and the Muslims have voted for, as per poll pundits.

Charges of corruption, a spate of rape cases, development issues and the inaccessibility of the BSP supremo appear to be some of the factors which may have led to the downfall of Mayawati.

But one politician who seems to have come on his own in these elections is Akhilesh Yadav, the son of Mulayam Singh Yadav who seems all set to inherit the socialist legacy. Akhilesh worked hard to shed the tag of SP being a ‘goonda’ party, acutely aware that criminalisation of politics in their last regime had cost them dear. He was probably able to provide an alternative to the BSP to the electorate, something which the Congress and the Bhartiya Janata Party could not do. The media attention was more directed at Rahul and the Gandhi family initially, with the spotlight shifting to Akhilesh much later in the day, but it seems that come March 06, the junior Yadav will have the last laugh.

Nonetheless, in the event of no party being in a position to form the government on its own, support from one or the other party will be imperative. Inspite of both the Congress and the SP reiterating it time and again that they will not join hands, we may see something on the contrary.

Also, BSP may align with the BJP if it comes somewhere close to staking a claim to form the government. Interestingly, the BJP leaders have opposed this idea throughout the campaign and have maintained that the previous coalition with Mayawati had proved detrimental for them.

The exit polls and post-poll surveys may have done their job but the vote swing at the last moment may as well spring surprises. The there is the silent voter who is crucial to the final results. Remember the 2011 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections in which no survey had predicted the kind of landslide victory that Jayalalithaa got.