India Today - - EXCLUSIVE -

How­ever, in Pun­jab 60 per cent think the strikes have not helped the rul­ing party’s chances. The saf­fron surge is most sig­nif­i­cant in the most pop­u­lous state, Ut­tar Pradesh (over 200 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion), of­ten con­sid­ered an elec­tion bell­wether in In­dia, though Hin­dutva is­sues like gau rak­sha and Ram mandir have found no trac­tion. The party got just 15 per cent of the vote in 2012, but is now pre­dicted to win 31 per cent, an un­prece­dented 16 per cent swing in its favour. This could get the BJP 170 to 183 seats. But even as it emerges the sin­gle largest party, it would still need 20-30 seats to form the government in Lucknow (202 seats out of 403). This might prove dif­fi­cult as only 10 seats are pre­dicted for ‘Oth­ers’, un­less the BJP is able to split one of its ri­vals (BSP, SP or Congress).

The BSP also seems to be gain­ing from the fierce anti-in­cum­bency against the Akhilesh Ya­dav-led Samajwadi Party government. In­deed, Mayawati, favoured by 31 per cent of vot­ers, is the top choice for chief min­is­ter. The SP’s neg­a­tive swing of 4 per cent (from 29 per cent of the vote in 2012 to 25 Very good Not enough Don’t know

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