NEW DELHI: About 60 per cent of the electorate in 40 Assembly segments spread over seven districts -- roughly comprising 10 per cent of the 403-seat Uttar Pradesh assembly -- voted in the last phase of polling on Wednesday, bringing the curtain down on a marathon and vitriol-filled State elections.
What stands out, interestingly, is that polling peaked at around 63.84 per cent and 66.17 per cent in the first two phases of the elections in western UP, and waned in the in-between phases, and peaked again in the final phase to touch 60 per cent (provisional EC figures) in eastern UP.
In the first two phases, the high polling was attributed to the disaffected Jat community’s response to demonetisation, unkept promises, unsatisfactory minimum support price to sugarcane crop and sundry other issues. The Jats, who had overwhelmingly voted for the BJP in 2014, were seen to be returning to Ajit Singh’s RLD.
By the time the long-drawn seven-phase elections came to an end, the narrative had changed. The BJP seems to have bounced back in the last two phases. The high turnout on Wednesday, and prior to that on March 4, by all indications seems to have gone in favour of the BJP.
However, as far as the buzz goes, the UP could be headed for a hung assembly, with the BJP perhaps emerging as the single largest party and BSP a close second or even overtaking the saffron party. The exit polls, expected to roll out on Thursday evening, may throw more light on this preliminary assessment.
Analysts believe a hung house could be a high-likelihood result of this turnaround. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah stepping up the campaign seems to have changed the narrative around, helping the BJP push its tally up and create a mini-surge, even if not exactly a sweep like 2014.