Seventh Phase: Who will win the Religion and Caste Ridden Assembly Polls in UP?

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The seventh and last phase of the polls comes to an end this evening at 5PM, with almost 14 crore electors voting for the 17th UP . While psephologist and political pundits are busy with their arithmetic, past experience shows that the winner has just three to four per cent edge over its rival in Uttar Pradesh. In eastern UP polls in 40 seats across seven districts of Varanasi, Bhadohi, Chandoli, Ghazipur, Jaunpur, and Sonebhadra will seal the fate of the candidates in fray, with large number of Bahubali (criminal records) and crorepatis contesting the elections. The last phase in UP was charged with roadshow, rallies, temple visits and acrimonious exchanges between all parties. Meanwhile, in , polling will be held in 22 constituencies with 98 candidates in the fray. officials said that helicopters will be used to airlift poll materials, officials and security personnel for remote polling stations. Here’s a report by our Associate Editor, Navodita, exclusively in Different Truths.  

As the election fever draws to an end, on March 8 (Wednesday), after the last phase of voting in UP and in Manipur, pollsters are guessing as to who will form the government; almost 14 crore electors are voting for the 17th UP Assembly.

While some say that the BJP, others have their own scientific reasoning as to why the BSP will come to power. The successive rise in the voting percent in all the phases suggest that people have come out to vote and this may turn out to be the biggest election in terms of cast and electorate. In the last election, Samajwadi Party got 224 seats with a vote share of 29.15 per cent and BSP got 80 seats with a vote share of 25.91 per cent. A difference of 3.36 per cent between the first and second party made a difference of 144 seats. This was when BJP got 47 seats with a 15 per cent vote share, while the Congress got 27 seats with a vote share of 11.63 per cent.

Some people have begun predicting victory for the BJP simply because BJP seems to be the party every party is fighting against. It is the BJP, at one end, and the strongest candidate from one of the other parties, on the other end. An important feature of these elections is the strong anti-incumbency factor at play. Also, the statistical models will have difficulty in predicting the results with precision, as most statistical models rely on a sample and can have a margin of error ranging from 95 to 99 per cent in a state like Uttar Pradesh, where victory margins are usually three to four per cent. The only models that will work in such an environment are those that will assume a swing for or against BJP constituency-wise. This is because most parties seem to be fighting the BJP and better predictive models covering every constituency can only be created by .

While religion and caste are the two important factors at play in UP polls, although, in the last election in 2012, religion took a backseat. Two things which are likely to have an outcome in these elections are – caste equations, face for Chief Minister proposed by various parties (except of course the BJP). It is observed that the vote bank of the BSP – more than 20 per cent of the caste vote will not budge. If the four per cent of upper caste and three per cent of OBC vote also tilts towards the BSP, the party is capable of getting a total of 27 per cent votes; add to this the 10 percent votes of Muslims, which becomes a total of 37 per cent, which is 12 per cent more than the vote share last time. So the BSP still stands strong chances of winning a large number of seats.

As eastern UP polls in 40 Assembly seats across seven districts of Varanasi, Bhadohi, Chandoli, Ghazipur, Jaunpur, Mirzapur and Sonebhadra there are 115 candidates with criminal cases against them. There are also a large number of crorepatis in this phase- Bholanath of BSP from (Jaunpur) has declared total asset worth Rs. 51.02 crore followed by Shuchimita Maurya of BJP from Majhwan in Mirzapur (Rs. 46.85 crore) and Subhash Pasi of from Saidpur (SC) in Ghazipur (Rs. 40.82 crore). The average of assets per candidate is Rs. 1.58 crores. There are almost 47 female candidates contesting in this phase.

A highly-charged final phase of campaigning ended with roadshows and some mega rallies in the city of Varanasi by the BJP, BSP and SP-Congress combine. A galaxy of BJP veterans and Union Ministers also made a beeline to Varanasi towards the fag end of election campaigning. At her rally, claimed that the people at Modi’s roadshow were ‘mere spectators’ brought from neighbouring states like Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. She said the joint roadshow by Akhilesh and Rahul Gandhi reflected they had ‘reconciled to defeat’ and added that prayers being offered at temples and shrines ‘will be of no avail’. Akhilesh, however, lined up 13 rallies on the last day of campaigning.

Meanwhile, in Manipur, polling will be held in 22 constituencies with 98 candidates in the fray. Election Commission officials said that helicopters will be used to airlift poll materials, officials and security personnel for remote polling stations. Many of the 1, 151 polling stations are located in hard-to-access hill stations. In the first phase of polling here on March 4, there were a few pre-poll clashes in a few constituencies. The Election Commission had also ordered FIRs against eight editors for publishing BJP propaganda materials after the official closure of campaigns in the first phase of elections. Security is now beefed up. It is for the first time that the police and state forces personnel have not been given any poll assignments.

We can only wait and watch what the people’s verdict will be.

©Navodita Pande

Photos from the Net.

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Navodita Pande

Navodita Pande

Navodita Pande has been practicing yoga since she was 9 years old in Iyengar Yoga. In April 1995, she performed at the International Yoga Seminar. In January 2003, Navodita taught at Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mandir in New York. Navodita had a Yoga show on NDTV 24x7 and was also the official yoga trainer for Miss Delhi contestants in 2007. She currently teaches Yoga and Reiki to
people in Kanpur.
Navodita Pande