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'Modi wave' pushes Maya 15 years back

May 13, 2014 09:54 IST

According to political analysts, Mayawati's social engineering to unite the lower castes with the upper ones seems to have backfired. 

The Bahujan Samaj Party could be staring at its weakest and the most humiliating performance in the Lok Sabha elections since 1998, suggest six exit polls.

The Times Now-Org survey shows the Mayawati-led party heading for a complete onslaught, with its seat tally shrinking to six.

The BSP had won five in the 1998 polls.

The projection of the Cvoter-India TV survey is hardly different. It gives BSP eight seats -- 13 fewer than those in 2009, when it had bagged 20 seats in Uttar Pradesh and one in Madhya Pradesh.

According to both surveys, BSP's loss could be BJP's gain. BJP is seen gaining massively in Uttar Pradesh, ostensibly because of the so-called Narendra Modi wave.

In the 1998 Lok Sabha elections, the party had performed well under the leadership of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The Nielsen-ABP and CSDS-CNN-IBN surveys, however, give Mayawati some respite - 13 and 10-14 seats, respectively. This is similar to the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, where BSP had won 14 seats. That year, BJP had slipped considerably in Uttar Pradesh.

This trend could imply two things -- BJP's growth is inversely proportional to BSP's and Mayawati's core vote has been split and tilted towards Modi's party.

According to the CSDS-CNNIBN survey, BSP's vote share in the current elections could come down to 21 per cent from 27 per cent last time. If this is true, it doesn't bode well for Mayawati, who is looking forward to grabbing power in the 2017 state elections, if not to becoming prime minister or a kingmaker this time.

According to political analysts, Mayawati's social engineering to unite the lower castes with the upper ones seems to have backfired. She had become UP's chief minister for a fourth time in 2007, riding on votes from her core supporters - Dalits and Brahmins.

A significant number of Muslims, too, had supported her. But Brahmins, Muslims and voters from other backward classes deserted her in 2012 state polls; her vote share fell by five percentage points seat tally by 126.

To compound Mayawati's worries, the exit polls have given the Mulayam Singh-led Samajwadi Party (SP) more seats than BSP. This implies Muslims have decided to stick with the SP, despite its rising unpopularity and a spate of religion-centred riots in UP.