Rahul Gandhi's intensive state-wide rallies notwithstanding, the Congress is likely to emerge badly bruised in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is expected to win 173-180 seats in the 403-member state Assembly.
Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is predicted to end up with 115-124 seats, according to the India Today-Axis Opinion Poll.
The incumbent Samajwadi Party will win 94-103 seats, the poll suggested. However, Gandhi's 25-day Kisan Padyatra, that took him across 2500 km of the heartlands to 14 temples, three mosques, six dargahs, three gurdwaras and one cathedral, seems to have personally struck a chord with the people of the state, with 38 per cent of those surveyed saying the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty is the Congress's "best bet to revive the party in the state".
The Congress is likely to only secure 8-12 seats and 6% of the vote shares. With no single party projected to make the 202 majority mark, the state is headed for a hung verdict.
Mayawati, CM Of Choice
Mayawati supporters had something to cheer about. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed want her to return as chief minister for the fifth time, while 27% wanted Akhilesh Yadav to remain. Just one per cent approved of Sheila Dikshit, Congress' candidate, as the next chief minister.
Only one percent wanted Mulayam Singh Yadav as the CM.
Development, Not Cow Politics
Development trumped religious politics with a whopping 88% opting for the former when asked what the BJP's biggest plank in the run-up to the polls should be. The Ram temple at Ayodhya and cow protection programme just etched up three and one per cent of polls.
Despite the BJP's 'Congress-mukt India' rhetoric, a majority 54 per cent surveyed said they did not agree with the idea of a Congress-free India, the poll stated.