LUCKNOW: Bureaucrats, they say, are the best psephologists. They do not conduct exit polls but they have their ears to the ground.
In Uttar Pradesh, since the past one week, bureaucrats - retired as well as serving - have been seeking appointments with Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati.
Armed with outsized bouquets, they have been 'wishing her the best' for the elections and 'praying for her bright future'.
A staff in Mayawati's house said: "These officers are coming for courtesy visits and 'Behenji' is meeting them all on days she is not campaigning. Most of them have served under Behenji when she was the Chief Minister and there are some new ones too belonging to the Bahujan Samaj. They are also giving her feedback about the prevailing situation."
Such visits before the election outcome are called 'bhool na jana' (do not forget us) visits in the local parlance.
One such retired officer, who had served in the Chief Minister's secretariat between 2007 and 20-12 when Mayawati was the Chief Minister, admitted that he had called upon Behenji.
"I went to wish her good luck in these elections. The BSP is making a comeback and there is nothing wrong in wishing luck. You do not go to wish politicians when their chips are down," he said.
A few officers, however, have deliberately kept out of these 'bhool na jana' visits.
"She has a mercurial temperament and may just misconstrue the purpose of the visit. I have decided to send her a bouquet when the results are out," the bureaucrat said.
Surprisingly, majority of the bureaucrat known to be close to Mayawati at one point of time or the other are unwilling to believe the exit polls.
"We do not know about the BJP but the BSP is definitely doing better than what has been projected. Exit polls can be managed but results cannot be manipulated," an officer said.
Another officer, who has sought an appointment with the BSP President, said that even if the exit poll results are to be believed, the BSP has made a comeback when compared to its 2014 tally in which the party had drawn a blank.