LUCKNOW: If the exit polls for Uttar Pradesh are to be believed, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to lose several seats from the 71 it won in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, but the caste calculus — on which the Mahagathbandhan of SP-BSP and RLD depended — would also seem to have failed.
An average of various polls gives the BJP and its allies around 45-50 seats leaving around 25-28 to alliance and 2-3 for the Congress.
In winning 73 seats in 2014, the BJP and ally Apna Dal had left only two to the Congress and five to Samajwadi Party.
A decline of 22-odd seats does dent NDA’s national tally, but the party can also draw some solace from UP’s results if it succeeds to achieve the figure thrown up by exit polls. It could have been worse.
As per caste arithmetic, the combined vote share of SP and BSP actually had the potential to sink the Saffron juggernaut to 20-25 seats. Such a result would mean, caste shackles have loosened.
The post-Pulwama air strikes and the BJP’s campaign around nationalism have had traction.
Also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swacch Bharat, Ujjwala and Kissan Samman Nidhi disbursements on the eve of polls, did break the Dalit-non-Jatav castes and successfully wooed them over.
The exit poll results, clearly, has not been to the liking of the alliance.
“Let us wait for May 23. These are just exit polls,” said a senior SP leader seeking anonymity.
If the exit result for the alliance is upheld on May 23 it would prove lack of synergy between its cadres too. However, the bigger worry is, that it would not bode well for the future of regional parties and a further dwindling of the base, defections cannot be ruled out. Such a result would also be a body blow to regional and dynastic kshatrapies.
If on the mark, it would also show the Congress as a dying party in Uttar Pradesh, outside its family constituencies, and also stunt its ambition to grow back in the larger northern regions, besides proving that Priyanka Gandhi’s magic had indeed failed.