Bharatiya Janata Party is all set to clinch the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming assembly elections, according to an India Today-Axis opinion poll. The UP polls are being seen as a test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity after his controversial move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.
Polling exercise in Uttar Pradesh, one of the largest and the most populous states in India will be conducted in 7 phases, with the first phase set to begin on 11 February.
The survey which was conducted between 12-24 Dec, 2016, predicts that the BJP would win the elections with a thumping mandate.
There was a 31 per cent increase in BJP's vote share in October and a 33 per cent increase in December, says the survey, which basically means that the saffron party is set to win 206-216 seats in the 403-member assembly.
In the 2012 assembly elections in the state, the BJP had only managed 47 seats, some 15 per cent of the vote share. In comparison to their previous performance, this is clearly an improvement. This clearly goes to show that scrapping of the old currency notes did not really have much of an effect on poll outcome despite the subsequent chaos.
In fact, the survey says "an overwhelming 76 per cent of the respondents supported demonetisation though people are split on whether the common man has been inconvenienced by the move".
However, the survey has no good news for the Samajwadi Party. While the party won 224 seats in 2012, this year they are likely to win only 92-97 seats, which is only 26 per cent of the vote share.
Despite their loss in vote share, Akhilesh Yadav remains a rather popular candidate for chief minister among the people since 33 per cent of those surveyed wanted him back at the helm of affairs.
In fact, according to the Lokniti-ABP News election tracker which conducted its survey in Uttar Pradesh between 5-17 December, 2016, it is mainly due to Akhilesh Yadav's popularity that the SP will retain its lead in the upcoming elections, with the BJP following close on its heels.
The survey found that the SP was slated to win 30 per cent of the vote share, while BJP was found to be winning 27 per cent of the votes, an improvement still since 2012.
It predicts that Mayawati's Bahujan Samajwadi Party would win 22 per cent of the votes.
According to the India Today-Axis survey, the BSP is slated to come close to the SP and win 79-85 seats. A do-or-die battle between the BSP and the SP is what the survey foresees.
Out of power in UP for 27 years, the Congress is expected to win seats in single digits, which means that Prashant Kishore's strategies are not quite improving the party's fortunes. The Lokniti-ABP survey expects it to do only slightly better than 2012.
Other parties in the state such as the Rashtriya Lok Dal, Apna Dal, the Left might end up winning 7-11 seats.
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