LUCKNOW/NEW DELHI : Is Uttar Pradesh bracing for another anti-Modi, anti-BJP ‘mahagathbandhan’(grand alliance) similar to Bihar? With most exit polls predicting a hung house in the State, with BJP emerging as the single-largest party, incumbent Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav dropped a hint in this direction.
Springing a surprise on Thursday evening, Akhilesh said he was not averse to an alliance with the BSP in the State, ‘if the need arises’. He expressed his readiness to explore all possible options to stop the BJP from running the State through ‘remote control’ in case of a fractured mandate and subsequently President’s rule.
“No one in the State would want President’s Rule and the BJP to run the government through remote-control,” he said in an interview.
The BSP leaders, however, refrained from making any direct comment, saying that they would wait for the final results on Saturday.
According to pollsters, calling the five State Assemblies as far-flung and small as Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur and as big and crucial as Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be the tallest leader. His popularity easily outstrips that of his closest youthful rivals.
As it appears, riding on his charisma and gritty campaigning, the BJP is all set to make new history and break old records, yet again.
Not only is the common thread in all the exit polls that the BJP is emerging as the single largest party in UP, in the wide range of 164 to 279, without projecting a Chief Ministerial candidate, it may even pick up Manipur, an old Congress bastion, for the first time.
The exit polls show, Modi and the canny BJP chief, Amit Shah, form an invincible duo that can steal the thunder of any Johnny-come-lately political alliance, like that of SP-Congress.
The ‘Sons of UP’ are seen to be a distant second, notching up no more than 130. And Behenji Mayawati, who was billed as the next UP CM till yesterday, seems to have fallen by the wayside with only a double digit score.
The Congress, on the other hand, from being a party steeped in history, seem to be on the road to become history. Going by the exit polls, the old party has some hope only in Punjab. But in Punjab too, it’s a touch and go situation. India TV-CVoter and CNN-News18 - Gramener put Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP ahead with 59-67 and 57 seats as against Congress’s 41-49 and 53 seats respectively.
In Uttarakhand, however, the exit polls predict failure of the local leadership of Chief Minister Harish Rawat. The BJP seems to be picking up the hill state. As for Manipur, it won’t just be a mere win for BJP if the Exit Poll results are proved correct. It would mean an end of the 15-year rule of Ibobi Singh and decimation of the Congress even in the North-East.