“We are going to form the government and our party is going to win a large number of seats,” Akhilesh Yadav, President Samajwadi Party, told a leading newspaper on the sidelines of a rally in Varanasi district, which is Modi’s parliamentary constituency.
The news: Yadav is confident that the Samawawadi Party will beat Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh state, the most crucial test for Modi before a general election in two years.
- “We have the people’s full support, which is very much visible,” he said, during the rally.
- Opinion polls conducted before voting began in the seven-stage election last month had mostly predicted the BJP will return to power in Uttar Pradesh.
- However, such polls are not always accurate in India and exit polls can only be published after voting is concluded on March 7.
- Counting in Uttar Pradesh and the four other state elections will begin on March 10.
- The results of the Uttar Pradesh state elections will be a key element for BJP’s popularity, which has been criticized for failing to respond to a pandemic death wave last year.
- A senior Samajwadi Party member, on the name of anonymity, said Yadav’s confidence of winning was based on surveys conducted by the party.
- However, the BJP has said they will retain Uttar Pradesh because of policies they have been making for the poor during the COVID-19 crisis.
- “Akhilesh Yadav is building a castle in the air,” said BJP spokesperson Sameer Kumar Singh. “His claim of winning the election is baseless. People are again going to vote for the BJP,” Singh said.
- Many analysts have said that the Samajwadi Party has put together a strong coalition of smaller groups that command a following in various parts of the state and among separate communities, something that the BJP itself did at the last state election in 2017 when it won 312 of the 403 seats.