SP has a slight edge in UP Assembly polls, says survey

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 17, 2018

United in protest BSP MLAs being evicted by marshals from the Vidhan Sabha in Lucknow on Tuesday. BSP and BJP legislators sought to corner the SP government over several issues, prompting the Speaker to order their eviction   -  PTI

BSP and BJP are likely to even out

At a time when the BJP is drawing top leaders from the BSP into its own fold, a survey has predicted that the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) will have a slight edge over the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, where Assembly elections will be held in early 2017.

The survey, conducted ABP News-Lokniti and the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), also said the Congress, despite projecting Sheila Dikshit as the CM candidate, is still off the voters’ radar.

According to a press release, 30 per cent of the voters said they will vote for the SP if elections are held right now. “The BJP, along with its two small allies Apna Dal (Anupriya Patel faction) and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, is the choice of 27 per cent of the voters, followed by the BSP at 26 per cent,” it added.

The survey said a mere 5 per cent of voters are opting for the Congress. “According to the poll, SP is likely to win 141-151 seats in the 403-member Assembly. The BJP is likely to fetch 124-134 seats, BSP 103-113, Congress 8-14, and others in the fray 6-12,” it said.

The NDA, after winning 73 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from the State, has been making efforts to bring its legacy back in UP politics.

However, the coalition, without projecting a CM candidate, is struggling to retain the base it gained in 2014. The survey said the BJP is unable to retain the support of about 40 per cent of the voters who had voted for it in the 2014 election, and many of these are Jatavs and Yadavs.

BSP supremo Mayawati has been trying hard to regain the party’s Dalit vote base by invoking issues such as the suicide of research scholar Rohith Vemula and the attacks on Dalits and Muslims by cow protection vigilante groups in various parts of the country.

To counter this campaign, the BJP has been poaching top BSP leaders. After Swami Prasad Maurya, senior BSP leader Brajesh Pathak joined the BJP recently.

“Nearly three-fourths of Jatavs are now supporting Mayawati’s party as opposed to two-thirds in 2014. Among non-Jatav Dalits, BSP’s recovery is even more impressive with 56 per cent voting for the party, which is almost a two-fold increase since 2014,” the survey said.

Wooing minorities

The BSP was also trying to compete with SP to expand its base among the minorities. The SP, the traditional winner of Muslim votes using the Yadav-Muslim combination, is still the favourite of Muslims, the survey said. “The party is doing much better among both Yadavs and Muslims with the 68 per cent of the former and 62 per cent of the latter indicating support for at present,” it added.

On the preferred leader for CM, the survey said Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati are equally popular.

Published on August 23, 2016

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