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OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.
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The fate of Uttar Pradesh is up in the air. As the seven phase all electronic voting comes to a close, Offstumped has the overall numbers crunched with different scenarios analyzed to set the stage for what to anticipate come friday.

First what are the polls saying ?

According to the Star News-Nielsen Exit poll, SP may end up with 96 seats in the 402-seat assembly while main opposition, BSP would be the single largest party with 137 seats.

The exit poll conducted by CNN-IBN and Indian Express newspaper projected BSP would end up with a seat share of 152 to 168 seats followed by SP with 145 seats and BJP ending at the third spot at 108 seats. The seat projection for Congress was put by this survey between 21 and 27.

The TIMES NOW-Hansa Exit poll paints a very gloomy picture for the ruling Samajwadi Party The exit poll gives 100-110 seats to the ruling party. As per the exit polls the Bahujan Samaj Party is getting 116-126 seats. The BJP on the other hand is getting 114-124 seats.

What is the most assured scenario based on Offstumped analysis for the 3 major players ?

This scenario represents the safe bets for the BJP, Mulayam Singh’s SP and Mayawati’s BSP. At the very least we should see all 3 of them hitting these numbers on Friday.

BJP – 86

SP -89

BSP – 56

The low number for BSP is an indication of 3 things. The BSP unlike the BJP and SP has fewer strongholds, lacks a steady base and its wins in the past have been narrow and opportunistic. The key seats which are indicators for how this scenario will turnout would be the urban strongholds of BJP in Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Varnasi as well as the Yadav strongholds which went to polls in Phase 1.

What is the most optimistic scenario based on Offstumped Analysis for BJP and SP ?

This scenario represents the best case for BJP and SP in theri final tallies. This assumes BJP and SP win all of the assured seats in their traditional strongholds and win all of the tossups where they have a strong chance of winning.

BJP – 124

SP – 117

For the BJP to achieve this best case scenarios it must hope for Muslim vote to fragment significantly and it must also hope seats which have consistently voted out incumbents will favor the BJP cyclically as they have done in the past. For the SP to achieve this best case scenario it must hope for its defection strategies to work. The SP has ensnared a large number of incumbents and past winners from the BSP, BJP and RLD, the key question on friday is how many of these defectors have carried their vote share our to add up to SP’s vote base in these seats to turn these tossups into decisive verdicts for SP.

The Big Question – How much of a front runner can the BSP be ?

The media has projected BSP as the largest party and Mayawati as most poised to stake claim for the next government. So what is the best case scenario for Mayawati ?

As you can see from the first scenario Mayawati is not entering this race with a whole lot of insurance. She is betting big on winning a large number of tossups where she has had some strength as well as wresting a good chunk from BJP and SP with her upper caste and OBC calculus.

If Mayawati wins all tossups that she has an edge going she gets up to 94 seats from the 56 assured seats. To do this she has to win all 38 tossups where BSP has a natural advantage going in.

If SP loses all of its tossups to BSP, which is a more likely scenario as most of the time SP is battling BSP in these seats, then Mayawati goes up to 122 with the additional 28 tossups going her way.

If the BJP loses all of its tossups to BSP, which is a highly unlikely scenario given that in a lot of the vote bank battleground seats the fight is between the BJP and SP, then Mayawati gets to her high number of 160.

If Mayawati wins all of the remaining 26 highly competitive close contest seats it gets her to the highly unlikely 186.

What will it take for Mayawati to be within striking distance of forming the government ?

To stake claim to Lucknow Mayawati needs to hit atleast 175 so she can team up with Congress and others to get to a magic number beyond 202. To get to 175 Mayawati needs to

– not lose any of the 56 seats that her strength

– win an additional 119 seats

Where can she get those additional 119 seats ?

There were 130 highly competitive close contests where the margin of victory was 3% or less in the past. Mayawati needs to do the impossible and win 91% of these close contests to get those 119 seats. If Mayawati does the more probable and wins about 50% of these close contests she gets to 121. She still needs another 50 odd seats to get to 175. Those 50 odd seats will have to come from the SP and BJP.

So unless the BSP’s gameplan of upper caste and OBC candidates has expanded its vote base dramatically in traditional BJP and SP strongholds it is hard to see how Mayawati will claim Lucknow.

As we await the counting on Friday, that folks is the key question Offstumped poses to the mainstream media which has been tom-tomming a Mayawati coronation as a foregone conclusion.

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