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Akhilesh, Mayawati to dent BJP numbers in UP, but not as much as expected

NDTV's Poll of Polls gives BJP and allies 49 seats, down from 73 in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, while the SP-BSP-RLD gathbandhan is predicted to win 29 seats.

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Lucknow: The BJP-led NDA is likely to save a substantial chunk of its 73 seats in Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha, and win a majority despite the formidable grand alliance of the SP, the BSP and the RLD, exit polls predicted Sunday.

There was wide variation among pollsters when it came to the UP numbers. ABP News-CSDS predicted the lowest numbers for the NDA — 22 seats — while the Times Now-VMR poll gave it 58. NDTV’s Poll of Polls, which calculated the average of all the polls, gave the ruling coalition at the Centre and in the state 49 seats, and the SP-BSP-RLD alliance 29.

All the pollsters, however, were unanimous about a dismal show by the Congress, which is predicted to win only two seats despite Priyanka Gandhi Vadra entering the fray as the party’s main campaigner in UP.

Also read: Exit polls show BJP-Shiv Sena set to win Maharashtra again, but with fewer seats than 2014

Chemistry versus arithmetic

The SP-BSP-RLD alliance, with its loyal vote-banks among Yadavs, Dalits, Muslims and Jats, was expected to have a clear edge over the NDA arithmetically. An analysis of constituency-wise data — adding up the votes of the SP and the BSP in 2017 assembly elections and extrapolating them to Lok Sabha constituencies — suggested the alliance could win as many as 57 of the 80 seats in UP. But exit polls suggest that chemistry in favour of Narendra Modi’s BJP might have prevailed over the opposition’s arithmetic.

Even as the BJP maintained that it would repeat its 2014 victory, this general election was different in UP because staunch rivals SP and BSP joined hands. While the BSP contested 38 seats, SP fought 37. Three western UP constituencies had been given to the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which joined the gathbandhan later. The alliance had left two constituencies — Amethi and Rae Bareli — for the Congress.

Also read: Why Axis MyIndia does exit polls but not a pre-poll seat forecast

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