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BSP ahead in UP elections: Survey

Apr 21, 2007 08:02 PM IST Politics Politics
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New Delhi: The Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) has emerged as a clear front-runner in the first three phases of the ongoing assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

The findings of The Indian Express-CNN-IBN-CSDS post-poll survey indicate that the BSP’s lead over all its rivals may be bigger than suggested by the various exit polls. If this trend continues in the remaining phases, the BSP may be the only serious contender for government formation in what is likely to be another hung assembly.

The picture has thus changed significantly since the pre-poll survey when it appeared like a two-horse race between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the BSP, with the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Congress falling off the chart.

BSP ahead after 3 laps
The post-poll survey now estimates that the BSP has secured 28 per cent of the votes polled so far in the three phases. The BJP has improved its position in the last one month to reach 23 per cent and the SP has slipped behind to 22 per cent votes. The Congress trails way behind with only 9 per cent votes so far.

Compared with the 2002 assembly elections, the BSP has gained 6 per cent votes since then at the cost of everyone else in areas where the 2007 polls have been held till now.

A lead of 5 percentage points over the nearest rival may appear small, but in a four-way contest this could give the BSP a disproportionately large number of seats. Of the 177 seats where elections have been held so far, the BSP is likely to win 66-70 seats, about 20 short of the half-way mark.

The BJP and the SP lag considerably behind and are likely to win 40-44 seats. The SP has lesser votes than the BJP but its votes are more concentrated. Compared to the performance of various parties in 2002, this represents a major boost for the BSP and a big setback for the SP in some of its strongholds.

Seat Forecast (Out of 177 constituencies)

Seats won in 2002

Projection 2007

BSP

38

66-70

SP

57

40-44

BJP+

41

40-44

Congress

14

9-13

Others

17

12-16


PAGE_BREAK
The BSP also appears to have humbled the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in its homeland of Western UP. The vote share of RLD may not decline but it may be hard put to retain its seats in the absence of any alliance. The Congress does not appear to have broken through its stagnation. Smaller forces like the Jan Morcha have not left much of an impression in this election so far.

This picture is different from the one presented by the various exit polls, none of which gives the BSP more than 56 seats so far. This difference is partly due to our preference for a post-poll survey as opposed to an exit poll that is carried outside the polling precinct. Exit polls tend to over-sample the more articulate, the more visible and therefore the upper caste voters.

This post-poll survey (methodology) interviewed a smaller sample of about 5,000 randomly chosen respondents in every alternate constituency. They were interviewed at their home usually the day after their constituency had voted.

Mulayam’s big loss
If there is one big loser in the last one month, it is clearly the incumbent SP, which appears on its way to being unseated. Now that the real elections face them, the voters appear do not fancy voting the ruling party back to power.

SP chief and UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh’s personal rating has slipped down by four points. More important is the rise is the proportion of those who do not wish to give the incumbent government another chance.

The Yadav voters have remained fairly loyal to him but his hopes of a last minute consolidation of the Muslim votes have not materialised even in Ruhelkhand. Beni Prasad Verma’s revolt and the BJP’s alliance with Apna Dal has led to a big desertion of the Kurmi voters.

The BSP has retained its position indicated by the pre-poll survey and has gained somewhat from the decline of the SP. The key to BSP’s success is not so much the over-hyped alliance with the Brahmins.
Seat Forecast (All constituencies)

Seats won in 2002

Projection 2007

BSP

98

150-160

SP

145

85-95

BJP+

106

95-105

Congress

25

25-30

Others

29

30-35



PAGE_BREAK
The BSP has so far secured around one-sixth of the Brahmin vote and about one-tenth of other upper caste groups. This is surely a substantial improvement on the past, but is nowhere close to challenging the BJP’s dominance of the upper caste voters.

If anything, the BSP is gaining more from the OBC and Muslim votes than from the upper caste. Add to it the unprecedented consolidation of Dalit votes (the figure of 85 per cent Jatavs reporting to have voted for BSP must be a record of sorts in vote bank politics), and you begin to see the magic of the BSP.

The BJP is no longer off the chart as was indicated in the dismal picture presented by the pre-poll survey. What has really helped the BJP is the success of its social and political coalition. The return of Kalyan Singh has meant the return of the Lodh votes. And the alliance with Apna Dal has resulted in an extra-ordinary swing in Kurmi votes in favour of the BJP. This last factor could prove crucial in the coming days as the region with Kurmi concentration is yet to vote.

There isn’t much good news for the Congress, except that Rahul Gandhi’s popularity is growing slowly, too slowly to be of much use in this election. His popularity has not yet crossed a threshold where he could convert it into new votes for the Congress. And converting the votes of a small party into seats is never easy in our system.

If this pattern applies to the remaining four phases of the elections, the BSP could end up with around 150-160 seats, and be the first claimant for forming the government. The SP and the BJP could struggle to get into three digits. The BJP could end up with 95-105 seats and the SP fall short of the three-figure mark. The Congress could be headed for a tally of around 25-30 seats, not very different from what it had last time, but crucial to the formation of the next government. But these projections for the rest of the state are still quite speculative. There is no way to be very precise about it, unless we have more information from the coming rounds.

The BSP has to cross many hurdles before it can turn these projections into a reality. The BJP looks forward to the sixth phase where it would expect the Apna Dal factor to make a big difference. The Samajwadi Party would seek to repeat its strong show in the last two elections in the constituencies that go to polls on 23rd of this month. The Congress too is hoping to inflict some damages in the fifth round when the Gandhi family’s strongholds go to polls.

Yet is it worth noting that in 2002 the BSP did a little better in the areas that poll in the remaining four phases than in the first three. And it is worth remembering that the BSP has almost invariably done better than that projected by any survey.
Projected Vote Share (Out of 177 constituencies)

Vote share 2007

Swing from 2002

BSP

28

+6

SP

22

-2

BJP+

23

-2

Congress

9

-1

Others

18

-1



How has the popularity of different leaders changed in this region over last one month

Pre-Poll (upto 3rd Phase)

Post-Poll (upto 3rd Phase)

Mayawati

26

28

Mulayam Singh Yadav

30

26

Kalyan Singh

15

19

Rahul Gandhi

5

7



Where is BJP+ gained over last month?

Post poll

Change from Pre-poll estimates

Rajput

52

+18

Loadh

36

+20

Kurmi

59

+33

Other OBC

32

+11



BSP’s expansion among non-dalits?

Post poll

Muslims

19

Brahmin

16

Jat

14

Lower OBC

32

Note: All figures are in percent


BSP is more popular among women voters compared to men across caste-community

Men

Women

All

27

29

Brahmin

14

18

Rajput

10

14

Peasant OBC

27

31

Lower OBC

25

41

Jatav

81

85



The S.P has lost support over last one month?

Post poll

Change from Pre-poll estimates

Kurmi

16

- 22

Lower OBC

20

-8

Muslims

44

-2

Yadav

76

-6



Should SP Government get another chance?

Pre-poll

Post -Poll

Yes

34

30

No

50

56

Rest No Opinion