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UP Elections: Opinion polls split on election outcome, Akhilesh still preferred CM

Opinion polls by media houses in collaboration with independent research agencies, have started making predictions as to which party could sweep to power in the politically-crucial state.
India TV Politics Desk New Delhi January 05, 2017 13:29 IST
India TV Politics Desk

With barely a month left for crucial Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the jury is still out on the way the electorate will swing – or not – this time around. Opinion polls by media houses in collaboration with independent research agencies, have started making predictions as to which party could sweep to power in the politically-crucial state. While some findings bear similarity, a closely fought contest cannot be completely ruled out.

A poll survey conducted by a leading news channel-Axis in Uttar Pradesh claims that BJP will emerge as a winner with a clear majority of 206-216 out of the total 403 seats in the seven-phase Assembly elections starting next month. In the 2012 Assembly elections, the BJP commanded a 15 per cent vote share and won 47 seats. The 2014 General Elections, on the other hand, were a clean sweep with the saffron party bagging 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats.

The opinion poll, conducted from October to December last year in UP, shows that PM Modi’s demonetisation move made a positive impact on BJP’s vote share. Demonetisation was announced on November 8, halfway through the survey period. The survey shows the BJP’s vote share increasing from 31 per cent in October (before note ban) to 33 per cent in December. 

On the other hand, the ruling Samajwadi Party, despite being wounded with the dramatic family feud, is likely to emerge as the second largest party with a vote share of 26 per cent, according to the survey which puts its seat tally at 92-97. 

Surprisingly, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party is neck-to-neck with Samajwadi Party in terms of vote share, and is projected to win 79-85 seats. In the last Opinion Poll the BSP's tally was projected between 115-124. The reason behind the BSP's decline seems to be its inability to get incremental voters beyond its traditional Dalit vote bank.

Congress, however, continues to struggle in the state as party is projected to win barely 5-9 seats with only 6 per cent vote share. Rahul Gandhi’s high voltage campaign and Prashant Kishore’s electoral strategising seems to have made no difference to the party’s fortunes. 

Furthermore, an overwhelming 76 per cent of the respondents in the survey supported demonetisation with more than half of them (51 per cent) saying that they believe that note ban will help eliminate the menace of black money and fake notes.

According to the survey, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav emerged as a clear choice for the next chief minister with 33 per cent of those surveyed wanting him to return to power. 20 per cent of the surveyors preferred BJP’s Rajnath Singh as the CM candidate.

On the other hand, the opinion poll conducted by another Hindi news channel-Lokniti-CSDS paints a different picture. 

The survey predicted a close fight between the BJP and the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh. According to the findings, the ruling SP is predicted to win 141-151 seats taking the party’s vote share to 30 per cent, while BJP will win 129-139 seats (27 per cent vote share) in the upcoming elections. 

The survey further predicted that Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will claim 93-103 sseats while Congress will struggle with just 13-19 seats. 

Furthermore, according to the ABP-Lokniti-CSDS poll, Akhilesh Yadav is projected to retain his chair with 28 per cent voters opting for him. Meanwhile, Mayawati comes in at a close second with 21 percent of the votes.

The survey also stated that voters felt that Akhilesh's performance as UP CM was better than that of Narendra Modi's performance as the prime minister, with 34 percent picking the former.

While people are split when it comes to the Centre’s ‘demonetisation’ drive, it will be interesting to see whether the move enhances or affects BJP’s vote bank in the UP elections. Also, it will be worth noting whether Samajwadi Party, which is embroiled in a bitter family feud, manages to overcast other parties.